The Trail Run Adventure Grant was created to help fund opportunities for women who want to explore, inspire, and share their experience with others. With the support of Merrell we offer six $500 grants to women who want to chase their dream trail run adventure! Read about the 2019 grant awardees below.
Six selected awardees receive a $500 grant to help them with costs associated with their trail run adventure. In addition, they receive a Trail Sisters swag bag and Merrell shoes and apparel.
To qualify, candidates must submit applications that will be reviewed by a panel of Trail Sisters & members from Merrell.
Any and all interested women who have a love for the trails and adventure are welcome to apply. These grants may be awarded to women taking their first trail run adventure or for the seasoned veteran looking for her next big challenge. There are no required performance standards or previous experience.
Participants must 18 yrs or older, and US residents (due to federal rules and regulations).
Adventures must be completed before November 1st, 2019.
Please note: These grants are not intended to help fund a trip to an organized race or event.
Buckskin Gultch - Utah
Becky’s Trail Run Adventure spans 45 miles from Utah’s Buckskin Gulch, the world’s longest slot canyon, to and through the Paria River in Arizona. Often listed as one of the world’s most dangerous hikes, this route offers unique challenges, from waist-deep muddy water and narrow slots to scorching desert sun, limited drinking water, and pools of sucking quicksand. It’s also one of the world’s most beautiful trips, with Creamsicle-colored slickrock, oasis-like freshwater springs, and natural arches soaring over secluded sandy coves.
Becky is thrilled to do this trip with her Trail Sister and constant outdoor inspiration Tracy, supported by both of their dads. As one of millions of women living with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS,) Becky hopes to use this trip to show that nothing can hold you down for long unless you let it: not PCOS, not the negative voices in your head, and not even quicksand.
Lebanon Mountain Trail
A Trek Steeped in History and Cultural Heritage
In early fall, Amal Katrib will be heading out on a 470-kilometer trek along the Lebanon Mountain Trail (LMT), covering a cumulative elevation gain of 22,000 meters as she further pursues her passion for a running-based lifestyle of genuine deep connections. The LMT is Lebanon’s longest thru-hike trail, traversing over 75 towns, villages, archaeological sites and Bedouin encampments as well as diverse landform and geological sites.
Amal will be splitting her multi-day journey from Andqet to Marjaayoun into stages of varying lengths and difficulties, following a flexible plan to fully immerse in the locality of the place. She will alternate running and hiking during the day, meeting with locals and fellow runners Brian Schilder, Kathleen Egan, and John Fiddler to jointly explore the many historic settlements, medieval monasteries, lush cedar forests, and gorge waterfalls along the way. She will use a downloadable detailed map of the route to navigate her way, carry minimal equipment for faster movement, and resupply in towns as needed. The evenings will be spent with host families in nearby villages and will be celebrated with lots of delicious Levantine food, engaging stories, and endless laughter.
Amal is currently coordinating details of the trip with the help of the LMT Association, Patrick Vaughan (current LMT FKT holder), and Bachar Khattar (passionate storyteller and videographer). She estimates a run duration of 8-9 days, giving her enough time after to recover with family and loved ones in Beirut and Saidon as well as tour the Jeita Grotto, Baalbek, and Beiteddine before heading back to Seattle!
Three Sisters Loop
Madeline Pickering & Sasha Teninty
Madeline Pickering and Sasha Teninty, best friends originally from Oregon, are going to attempt the unsupported FKT of the Three Sisters Loop. The Three Sisters Loop is a 47-mile run through the Cascade Mountains in the Three Sisters Wilderness. The run starts at Pole Creek Trailhead and covers trails and a few rocky scrambles through 6,700 feet of elevation change.
This is a redemption run that celebrates sisterhood and these women’s ability to reclaim their health and strength. In October of last year, they planned to attempt this same FKT, but Sasha began experiencing serious pain in her knee and found out a piece of cartilage had broken off under her knee cap. She underwent a cartilage transplant in February and these two trail sisters want to return to the Three Sisters Wilderness to give the run another shot. It will be the longest run either of them have ever attempted.
6 Days in the Sierra Nevada
August / September
Kim’s adventure is a high and wild line of her own design paralleling the spine of the highest part of the Sierra Nevada. Her route starts above the town of Bishop and travels south 100 miles to the southern extent of the Sierra alpine. Along the way she crosses 15 mountain passes, unnecessarily tags 18 high peaks (including the highest mountain in the contiguous US, Mt. Whitney), and racks up 45,000’ of ascent and descent. At times she’ll use trails to cover distance between basins, but the spirit of her adventure includes a heavy dose of off-trail, high and wild mountain adventure. Given the nature of her pursuit, she’s allocated 6 days with one cache to balance her equal interests in pushing hard with taking in the views and appreciating the terrain.
Kim’s biggest challenge is not the distance, vertical stats, terrain, navigation, or carrying the overnight pack weight. Her biggest challenge is overcoming severe anxiety from traumatic brain injury and doing this solo. In late 2015, her life changed dramatically when she skied over some minor cliffs and suffered traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her impairments from TBI stripped her of the life, future, and identity she’d known. Her TBI forced her to redefine herself within her new limitations. She has since been redefining herself as a mountain athlete in the Sierra Nevada. She’s built an impressive resume of experience across multiple sports and all seasons in the mountains, but much of it has been with her fiancé. Although she has enough experience to prove herself capable, severe anxiety has kept her from embarking on a big multiday journey by herself. The purpose and challenge of Kim’s journey is to confront that crippling anxiety.
Superior Hiking Trail
September / October
Lacey Scottum is attempting to achieve the FKT of the Superior Hiking Trail, a feat that no woman has accomplished at the trail’s current distance of 310 rough and relentless miles. In order to increase her odds of being successful, she has hired a coach and is well into the process of training for such a demanding task. She has already put on weekly mileage that she never thought possible coupled with strength and speed work as well. In addition to her local trail miles, Lacey will do training run-throughs on the Superior Hiking Trail to familiarize herself with some of the segments she doesn’t know as well and to fine tune what gear and food work best.
When planning for an endeavor such as this, it isn’t just about the physical fitness it takes either. There are also a lot of logistical things that Lacey has to consider such as gear, food, and strategy. While attempting the FKT, she will be camping in designated backcountry campsites and all food, water, and camping gear will have to be hiked into each site. She has been keeping an ongoing list of all the things that might be needed while out there; from camp mats to headlamps to Clif bars to blister kits. Lacey has also been scouring maps and guide books to be able to figure out daily mileages, potential campsites to stop at, water sources, and any trail reroutes that have taken place. Not only has she been thinking about gear, but also people that she can invite to share in the experience, as the wilderness is best when it’s shared.
West Maroon Pass
Leigh Orne and her mom Betsy
In July, Leigh and her mom Betsy, will traverse the iconic 10.2 mile trail from Crested Butte to Aspen, climbing over the 12,500 foot West Maroon Pass. The location of the hike is particularly special for Betsy. Back in 1960s at the age of 19 she boldly moved 1,600 miles across the country to Boulder, CO. where she skied, hiked, and backpacked throughout the Rockies. She even ski-bummed in Aspen for a year after college! These formative outdoor experiences gave her a deep sense of her strength, independent spirit, and an appreciation for Colorado’s beauty.
For Leigh, now 50+ years later, returning to Colorado with her mom and completing this trail together would be the ultimate full circle celebration. This is more than an adventure for the two of them. It’s about honoring mother-daughter sisterhood and the DNA that gets passed down generation to generation that nurtures our adventurous spirits.