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Jackson Hole: Base camp for some of the world's best ultra athletes

(Jackson, Wyo.) - I met with Grant Maughan yesterday right after he had done several laps of Snow King Mountain carrying a 65-pound pack, and he was cheery and upbeat... and ready to go at it again. Australian native Maughan calls Jackson his "adventure" home base. At 51-years-old, he completed eight ultramarathons of 100 miles or more in the last year and placed in some of the world's most intense ultra races "I originally came to Driggs because Lisa was my running coach," he said. "I would come to the mountains because it is good elevation with good vertical and good downhill. I would train here, travel to do a race and then come back and train again." His coach is Jackson ultra runner Lisa Smith-Batchen, who is currently training to run 3,100 miles from LA to NYC in 46 days . Maughan just started running endurance races three years ago, after working for 30 years as a sea captain. He started coming to the area to train with Smith-Batchen, but eventually made it his training base. "I found that I just really like being here," he said. "It is perfect if you are an endurance athlete. In this area -- in Jackson and the Teton Valley -- the amount of endurance athletes is amazing, like world-class athletes." Maughan returned to Jackson to train this week after placing second in the Tuscobia race in northern Wisconsin. The 160-mile race is entirely self-supported, so he ran the race while pulling 40 pounds of gear in a sled, with temperatures dipping to below -30. Out of 25 runners, only four finished the race and there have only been 15 people who have finished in the history of the race. Just a few days ago, Maughan and Smith-Batchen snowshoed from Wilson to the top of Teton Pass, climbed Mt. Glory, ran down Glory and then ran back to Wilson carrying a 65-pound pack. This is just one of his many intense Jackson Hole workouts. Next week, he will head to Argentina to climb Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America. Six days after he climbs Mt. Aconcagua, he will run the Iditarod in Alaska, a 130-mile race where he will have to drag a sled carrying all of his gear. After that, he will come back to Jackson to continue training. "This is such a fantastic part of the world, we don't have this type of thing in Australia," said Maughan. "This is my adventure base." You can follow Maughan's races at www.dingofishexpress.com. *Feature Photo: Grant Maughan. h/t Grant Maughan / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news