Best Friends Fundraisers

Grand to Grand 2023 Best Friends Runners

Meet the Best Friends Grand to Grand 2023 team! These amazing, dedicated animal lovers are taking their love for helping homeless pets one step further by participating in the Grand to Grand Ultra to raise funds for Best Friends.    

Beginning on September 24, this 275 kilometer (171 mile), seven-day footrace is one of the world’s toughest races and takes place in one of the most remote corners of America. It requires incredible endurance, perseverance, and months of training. Many of those who start do not reach the finish line and it takes huge physical and mental strength to succeed. Learn more about this legendary feat of endurance at 


I’ve lived in and traveled to many places, worked in myriad career fields, and followed all kinds of passions, but my love for animals and outdoor recreation are two parts of my life that have always been consistent and strong. I feel honored and grateful to be running the Grand to Grand for Best Friends. 

I grew up with a family dog, Boji, who was very important to me as a child, and I volunteered regularly at a local animal shelter. I was completely sold on the deep connection I found with dogs, but I wasn’t really exposed to other kinds of pets until I was 18 and came to volunteer at Best Friends for six weeks. That time opened my mind in a big way. I was amazed by natural horsemanship and connected with birds in a way I hadn’t thought was possible. I later completed the Best Friends internship and worked as an employee for a while. I still volunteer for transports when I can.  

I grew up participating in as many sports and outdoor adventures as I had access to. I started distance running when I was about 10. Going for a long run offers me a kind of peace that’s hard to find. Last fall, I spent 45 days hiking 712 miles of the Arizona Trail. It was an incredible experience.  

I’m excited to see how much support we can gather for animal welfare through this epic race. I’m excited for what training will offer me this summer and for the new motivation to really take care of myself in a big way, training my focus and perseverance. I'm excited for all the trails I’m about to explore and to meet new people. Im excited to hit a wall in the race and find a way to keep going. Im excited to run through Best Friends property and see my friends cheering me on. Im excited to finish and probably immediately fall down and start crying if I’m somehow not already actively crying at that point. 



Helping animals and trail running are my two major passions in life. When I came across the Facebook post from Best Friends looking for runners for the Grand to Grand, I immediately knew it was something I wanted to do as it combined two of my worlds 

Most importantly, I am a huge fan of Best Friends. I was talking about the organization to anybody who would listen following my visit to the Sanctuary in Kanab last summer. I got to tour the property and hosted a dog named Fig for a sleepover and took him hiking with me. I loved my experience and everything that Best Friends stands for. I knew I wanted to come back and spend more time at the Sanctuary, volunteer, and find additional ways to support Best Friends.  

Running G2G for Best Friends sounded like the perfect opportunity to do just that, given that I am a runner. I thought that if I was lucky and got selected, I would be running with a purpose. It wouldn’t be just me chasing the goal of preparing for a race and then trying to cross the finish line. Rather, I would be raising funds for Best Friends in the process, trying to spread the word about this organization but also in general about valuing animal lives and caring for them all. All miles would have a purpose. I knew I was willing to take on this challenge because of my strong belief in Best Friends’ mission to save all animals and put an end to killing animals in shelters in the United States.   

I am originally from Prague, Czech Republic, but have been living in the United States for nearly half of my life. I live in Corpus Christi, Texas, and I have two dogs and four cats, all rescued pets. I also foster for local animal rescue organizations and try to help out animals as much as I can. My free time is spent running, walking my dogs, feeding dogs and cats, and sometimes working on research articles as a hobby. 

I have been running for fun for more than 10 years. My absolute favorite is trail running. I completed many trail ultramarathons around the United States, ranging from 50 kilometers to 100 miles. I love the mountains, so I like to sign up for ultramarathons that allow me to travel to beautiful parts of the United States and experience them closely by hiking and running in them. Running in new places is a great adventure for me. 

I am looking forward to the opportunity to challenge myself (physically and mentally) and also to get to know other runners participating in the event. It will be a great time being in nature, exploring a beautiful part of the United States, and doing it all while raising funds for Best Friends. I am excited that G2G will go through Kanab and the Sanctuary’s property. It will be great to visit again during the race and hopefully also before or after. If I can squeeze it in, I hope to take a dog from the Sanctuary for a hike or volunteer.   



I'm a Brit from London but have made Southern California my home for 17 years nowI'm an adventurous type and love the outdoors. I'm most at home in the mountains or on the trails or camping in my little teardrop trailer with my pack. 

I turned the big 5-0 early last year, and it really got me thinking about how I wanted to spend the second stage of my life. I refuse to slow down! I want to make the biggest impact with the time I have left. This year, to celebrate my 13th year working for Best Friends, I wanted to do something to give back to the organization that has given me so much over the years. Animals have always been my No. 1 passion, so to be able to make a living while saving them has truly been a blessing. 

Before joining Best Friends, I worked in a municipal shelter for three years, and it was the hardest but most rewarding three years of my life. Working in a shelter is like being on a rollercoaster for 10 hours a day. You have the ultimate high when you send a dog home with a loving family; you feel relief when a cat caregiver comes in to pick up that freshly spayed community cat who's spent most of her life pregnant. But every day you also look into the eyes of all the innocent, abandoned animals who aren't going to make it out of the shelter alive. Whenever I have a meh day, I think about all those animals whom I couldn't save and all the ones who still need saving. We have come a long way, but we're still not quite there yet. I want to be able to look back to a time in history and say I helped make that happen: I changed the world for animals. 

I found running in high school and loved the solitude of long runs and the feeling of accomplishment it brought. In 2008 I joined a local running club and trained for my first marathon. I finished the race in a very respectable time and raised almost $5,000 for the animals at the shelter. It was supposed to be a one-and-done, but like Forrest Gump, I just kept running. Over the next 10 years I ran 23 marathons, including two Bostons (which you have to qualify for), countless halves, 10Ks, 5Ks, mud runs, and Ragnar Relays. I said yes to everything! I even travelled to race in far-flung places like Cuba, Costa Rica, Croatia, and Jamaica.  

In 2019 I was sidelined with bone spurs in my heels, and by 2022, I was barely lacing up. I felt defeated whenever I said to people "I used to be a marathon runner," but I just couldn't find my mojo again. Since I signed up for the G2G I've been lacing up more than ever. This is my comeback year! My days of pounding the unforgiving pavements for 26.2 miles might be over, but the softer surface of the trail and the Jeff Galloway Run Walk Run program will see me through it. I'm doing the G2G ultimately for the animals. But in many ways it's saving me too from not having to say, "I used to be a marathon runner..." Instead, the conversation will go something like, "I'm an Ultra runner; I completed the hardest race in the world." 

I'm looking forward to meeting all the other competitors and hearing their life stories and discovering what their passion in life is. I mean, with 171 miles over the toughest terrain in the world and six nights of camping in tents in groups of six or seven strangers, there's sure to be a lot of laughter, tears, and TMI!  

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