Grand to Grand 2023 Best Friends Runners
This group of 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 271 km (175 miles), 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 and perseverance, and months of training. Learn more about this legendary feat of endurance at g2gultra.com.
I’ve lived and traveled 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 6 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. I'm excited to hit a wall in the race and find a way to keep going. I'm excited to run through BF property and see my friends cheering me on. I'm excited to finish and probably immediately fall down and start crying ifI’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, Iimmediately 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 stand for. I knew I wanted to come back and spend more time at the Sanctuary, volunteer, and findadditionalways 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 Iwaslucky and got selected, I would be running with a purpose. Itwouldn’tbe 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, TX, and I have two dogs and four cats, all rescues. 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 50k 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 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 but hopefully also before or after. If I can squeeze it in, I hope to take a doggie from the Sanctuary for a hike or volunteer.