Annual Rut Mountain Runs Sept. 1-3
MONTANA LIVING — One of the toughest mountain runs in the world comes to Big Sky, Montana, Sept. 1-3.
The Rut Mountain Runs, in its fifth year, is bigger than ever.
Named ‘One of the Toughest Races in the World’ by Outside Magazine last year, the race brings about 2,500 racers to Big Sky Resort during Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1- 3.
Registration is up by about 500 racers from last year and the top Rut races filled up in record time. The 28K – with its 650 racing slots – filled up in only a couple of hours.
The North Face is the events title sponsor this year. Both race co-founders, Mike Wolfe of Bozeman and Mike Foote of Missoula, are North Face sponsored athletes. Other members of The North Face racing team attending: ultrarunners Timothy Olson, Rob Krar and Seth Swanson of Missoula, and climber Cedar Wright.
The Rut is the only race stop in North America on the International Skyrunner Federation Series. It’s why the races attract some of the biggest names in trail running.
The Rut consists of four main races and a kid’s race, The Rut Runt Run. Most of the race courses summit Lone Mountain at 11,166 feet. The 50K racers will gain 10,500 feet of elevation during the course of the race and the 28K race will gain 7,800 feet. The VK is a race straight to the top of the mountain. Racers gain 3,600 feet in about 3 miles and don’t descend.
The terrain is steep and highly technical, which is part of the attraction for the world-class racers.
In the VK, Laura Orgue of Spain, the female champion the last two consecutive years, is back again, as well as the male first-place finisher in 2016, Kiril Nokolov of Bulgaria. Rut Race director Foote is scheduled to race the VK as he did last year.
The men’s second and third place finishers in last year’s 28K are both back again. Ragna Debats of Spain, and the overall leader right now in the Skyrunning World Series rankings, is scheduled to run the 50K.
The grueling men’s 50K race is packed with competitive runners, including Luis Alberto Hernando, who has won many of the biggest races in the world. However, North Face athletes Timothy Olson and Seth Swanson will be competitive, as well as Tim Freriks who won the Transvulcania 80K this year in May.
As part of the events associated with this year’s Rut Mountain Runs, The North Face is bringing its Speaker Series to Big Sky Resort.
On Saturday, Sept. 2 in the Summit Hotel’s Talus Room, Bozeman-native and North Face Athlete Team Captain Conrad Anker will emcee a speaker series featuring Timothy Olson and Cedar Wright and discuss with them their new adventure films, “The Unknown” and “Of Choss and Lion.” Admission is $10 at the door and tickets are available online at bigskyresort.com/speakerseries.
All proceeds from the event will go to Paradox Sports, a nonprofit that supports adaptive outdoor sports.
North Face ultrarunner Rob Krar will autograph posters in the resort’s North Face store on Friday, Sept. 1 from 3 – 5 p.m. Plus, all the retail outlets at the resort are offering 50 percent off on winter apparel, 60 percent off on select baselayers and 40 percent off winter hardgoods all weekend long.
Spectating is highly encouraged during The Rut. Chairlifts will begin operating at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Great spots for spectating include the top of Swift Current and Ramcharger chairlifts.
As a result of the races Labor Day weekend, there will also be a number of trail closures to mountain bikes. Swift Current chairlift will close bike haul Friday, Sept. 1 beginning at noon. For bike closures on Sept. 2 and Sept. 3, please visit Big Sky Resort’s Facebook page or the bike report on bigskyresort.com.