RUN the RUT 2017 Race Preview

3-days, 3 races and 3 incredible experiences, Big Sky Montana hosts the Run the Rut weekend of racing. If ever a race weekend existed that should combine with a holiday experience, this is it, Big sky is located between the idyllic town of Bozeman and the iconic Yellowstone Park.

The isolated Lone Peak mountain provides a stunning backdrop for the Run the Rut races of VK, Sky and Ultra with all races climbing to its summit via technical ridge and difficult climb.

Utilizing what would be ski runs in winter, it’s easy to understand why the Rut has gained a reputation for providing a tough and technical test even for the most experienced runner.

The VK is the next race in the new VK World Circuit and this race takes place on Friday September 1st. The Sky Classic and Ultra continue the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series taking place on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd respectively.

The Rut races have become flagship races in the USA. And are the only US based races in the 2017 Migu Run Skyrunner World Series. This is primarily due to the technical nature of the trails. You see, access to open land and mountains is not the same as in Europe. Strict land management is in place and ‘off-trail’ races just don’t exist. The Rut have managed to work around this by using the Big Sky resort which does not have to comply with land permission issues.

Vertical K

The VK kicks off the action from the Big Sky Resort up to the summit of Lone Peak at an altitude just short of 3000m gaining 3,632 feet in just over three miles.

SkyRace

The SkyRace is the most pleasing race of the Rut weekend as the proportion of vertical gain and technical running all blend together in the most logical and pleasing course.

The men’s race has all the makings of a classic with some serious competition coming from Aritz Egea who is looking for 2017 SWS victory – he raced last weekend in Switzerland and will be tried.

But Jan Margarit is a man on form with victories at the Dolomites SkyRace and Comapedrosa, for me, he is the odds on favourite for victory! Remi Bonnet has won in the USA in past years and is the likely contender to give Margarit a tough run. However, Pascal Egli is having great year and he will no doubt be one to watch.

Eugeni Gil Ocana is on fire in 2017 and if he is not too tired after placing 2nd at Matterhorn Ultraks, he is a likely podium placed finisher. Expect strong competition to come from Julien Martinez, Oscar and Marc Casal Mir, Sintu Vives, Marc De Leon, Eduard Hernandez, Pere Rullan and Dai Matsumoto.

Laura Orgue is the hot favourite in the ladies’ race having raced well multiple times in 2017 – victory at Dolomites SkyRace and 2nd place in Comapedrossa. Hillary Gerardi has been a revelation in 2017 with a string of strong and consistent performances. Addie Bracy, Glykeria Tziatzia and Jennifer Asp (still not sure if she will run the Sky or Ultra) are also podium contenders.

SkyUltra 50km

The long course gains over 3000m of elevation and as with all the other races visits the summit of Lone Peak.

The men’s race is an interesting one with Luis Alberto Hernando missing UTMB to run here in the USA and gain valuable points for the SWS. Competition for the Spaniard will no doubt come from Italian Franco Colle who has excelled on this course in the past editions.

BREAKING NEWS (31st August)

I have also had conformation that Timothy Olson and Seth Swanson will also toe the line here at the RUT making the fight for the 50km very competitive. Olson is back to his old days with some great form as of late, he placed 10th at Transgrancanaria, 4th at Power of Four and he won Penyagolosa in Spain.

Equally, Swanson is back on a roll with 4th at San Fran 50 in December 2016, 6th at Hong Kong Ultra 100km early 2017 and 2nd at Lavaredo recently.

Matt Shyrock returns after success in the 2015 racenand a recent run at Tromso SkyRace. Pere Aurell Bove is having a great year but just last weekend raced in Switzerland at Matterhorn Ultraks – he will be tired! Australia’s Caine Warburton will be a contender for the podium as will Johan Lanz from Sweden, Russia’s Dmirtry Mityaev, Czech Republic’s Robert Krupicka and the Portugal’s Andre Rodriguez. Peru’s Remigio Huaman always runs strong and he along with Kiril Nikolov from Bulgaria round off the main protagonists for the podium.

The ladies’ race is headed up by Ragna Debats who won last weekend’s Matterhorn Ultraks. Ragna is on a roll at the moment and in great form but two 50km races in 7 days and a long-haul flight will no doubt take its toll.

 

Strong competition will come from Michelle Maier, Ekaterina Mityaeva, Kristina Pattison and Jennifer Asp.

*****

Race summaries and images will be posted on this website after each race.

Images at iancorless.photoshelter.com

FOLLOW ON

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography on Twitter @talkultra

and Instagram @iancorlessphotography

RUN the RUT 2016 ULTRA Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3735

Mike Foote, race director for ‘The Rut’ races had to make the tough call this morning at 0500 and confirm that the ULTRA race would go to a plan B route. Rain, snow, cold temperatures were all rolling in and the potential hazard to all participants was too high. It’s a decision no race director wants to make but as the day unfolded it was the correct decision.

“Due to current freezing rain conditions in the alpine and potential significant snowfall later today, we have made the tough choice to go with our plan B course for the 50k.”

The plan B route unfortunately removed all the key Skyrunning elements of the original course leaving the opening third unchanged with the first 12.1 miles remaining the same as the original course (Soul Hole-Tango-Challenger service road-Moonlight-Ullery’s Lake loop-Madison Connector-Madison Village-Moonlight Loop trail-Elkhorn trail).

The middle section of the course, Headwaters Ridge and Lone Peak sections of the original course were simply too exposed and technical to be safe for runners or safety personnel in the event of a major storm on race day and they were therefore removed.  This therefore confirmed that “Plan B” would be in place and the new route would remain approximately 50% true to the original course.  This change would mean that the course would stay off the high exposed ridgelines and not go to the summit of Lone Peak – the Skyrunning element was gone and ultimately this would have a huge impact on the race.

At Swiftcurrent lift where the runners would have turned right for the tough and challenging climb to Lone Peak followed with the technical descent off the summit was replaced with a run along an access road and a descent through a rocky boulder field before heading back up to Dakota lift and rejoining the original course for the run to the line.

In the opening 2-hours low mist hung around and temperatures were actually surprisingly warm despite the forecast and I am sure many were thinking, we could have run the original route. Then at Swiftcurrent, about 16 miles into the course the rain started to fall and then the snow. The temperatures plummeted and suddenly it was difficult to remain warm. The front end the race was moving fast and generating heat but as you moved through the pack and as time past, the pace of runners changed and those who were starting to walk were really feeling the impact of the conditions.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3502

With the main climbing and technical sections removed, the new route most certainly suited those who can run… Chad Trammell from Alaska was dictating the pace followed by Scott Patterson who placed 3rd in Friday’s VK. Salomon Team Manager, Greg Vollet pursued as did Cristofer Clemente and last years 3rd on the podium Matt Shyrock.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3531As the terrain became more challenging, Greg Vollet used his downhill skills to take the lead but Cristofer Clemente was playing the wise game, just as he did in Madeira. He slowly moved up into 3rd and then on the final descent he unleashed an all out effort to catch and pass Greg and Chad. Cristofer cruised into the line in 3:51:53. Greg finished +1:38 later just managing to hold off Chad who took the final podium place just 16 seconds later. Cristofer’s victory here follows on from victory in Madeira and he therefore heads the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series with everything to fight for in late September at Ultra Perineu.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3908

In the ladies’ race, the revised and more runnable course played into the hands of Ida Nilsson. Ida who was victorious at Transvulcania earlier this year opened up a gap in the early stages and extended it and extended it. At halfway, her lead was over 10 minutes and victory was never in doubt. Although some of the more challenging terrain may well have slowed her in the final stages, it was never enough for her to lose such a strong lead, Ida crossed the line in 4:27:30.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3735

Pre race favourite and winner of the High Trail Vanoise, Anne-Lise Rousset, was running a strong race no doubt being challenged by the wet and cold. But just behind her, Hillary Allen (who podium at the Rut in 2015) was pursuing closely followed by Kristina Pattison. The pressure was on and in the closing stages it was touch and go who would placed 2nd…

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-3936

Anne-Lise held on finishing +16:22 after Ida but just behind Hillary could be seen, the gap after crossing the line just 36 seconds. Kristina Pattison held on for 4th, +22:21. Martina Valmassoi who placed 3rd at the Rut last year withdrew from the race and Anna Comet Pascual finished 8th.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_ULTRA-4011

Ultra Pirineu on the 24th September concludes the Ultra Skyrunner® World Series and it’s all to fight for with a 20% points bonus on offer.


Thanks to the support of our Partner Migu Xempower, Sponsor Alpina Watches and Official Pool Suppliers, Scott RunningCompressport and Salomon.

About Skyrunner® World Series
Skyrunning was founded in 1992 by Italian Marino Giacometti, President of the International Skyrunning Federation which sanctions the discipline worldwide and sports the tagline:
Less cloud. More sky.

The Skyrunner® World Series was launched in 2004 and has grown to represent the peak of outdoor running defined by altitude and technicality. In 2016, the Series, composed of four disciplines, features 23 races in 15 venues on three continents.

iancorless.com is the official photographer and media partner for the Skyrunner® World Series Follow on:

Social Media Logos

Facebook/iancorlessphotography
Twitter (@talkultra)
Instagram (@iancorlessphotography) 

Follow the Skyrunner® World Series on social media platforms

Facebook.com/skyrunning
Twitter @skyrunning_com
Instagram @skyrunning

The RUT – 50km 2015 Race Images and Summary

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-1331

Concluding an incredible weekend of Skyrunning, the RUT 50km which is the penultimate ultra in the Skyrunner World Series took place today (Sunday) in the resort of Big Sky, Montana. One of the key races in the 2015 Skyrunner® World Series this stunning race did not disappoint.

View and purchase the RUT IMAGES HERE

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-6423

Overnight temperatures dropped and light snow had left a sprinkle over much of the 50k terrain. The 0600 start was below freezing and it was a good job that runners went straight into a 500m climb to get warm. The first 45-minutes were undertaken in darkness and then a most incredible sunrise welcomed a new day.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-6446

Covering 50km (31 miles) the race had 10,00ft (3040m) of vertical gain and loss. In the words of the Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe (Rut race directors), ‘There are sections of this course, including the ascent and traverse of Headwaters ridge, as well as the ascent and descent of Lone Peak, which are EXTREMELY STEEP & TECHNICAL with sections of exposure and potential rock fall hazard. This is a true mountain course so please treat it with the respect it deserves!’

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-6934

To many a Skyrunner, that is a calling card for full-on, adrenaline packed mountain running adventure. Restricted to just 600-runners, demand for the RUT 50km was always going to be high and this was reflected in the race selling out.

Containing 60% single-track, 25% dirt road and 15% off-trail, the RUT really did provide a spectacular race. As with all races over the RUT weekend, the 50km event had wave starts that would be offset by 5-minute gaps. The elites ere released in wave 1 and 3 other waves followed.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7160-2

What transpired was a stunning day of racing. Franco Colle from Italy followed on from his impressive podium placing at Mont-Blanc 80km and ran a cool, calm and controlled race. Pushing from the front he looked relaxed throughout and he crossed the finish line in 5:16:58. His time was impressive but outside Kilian Jornet’s 2014 winning time.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7186

Cristofer Clemente has consistently shown excellent results in 2015 and is a prime contender for the Skyrunner World Series, he backed this up once again time trailing Franco throughout the race but running a strong and secure 2nd place in 5:19:28.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7269

Matt Shyrock produced a breakthrough performance having placed outside the top 10 in 2014 to come through and take the final podium place in 5:29:00. His excitement and enthusiasm for his finish was clear for all to see with some great showboating.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7371

Pre race favourites, Max King and Luke Nelson finished 6th and 7th respectively, Max on the line said, ‘that is quite some race!’

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7580

In the ladies, Emelie Forsberg followed on from her 2014 victory with a repeat win in 2015. Not only did she win but in the process set a new course record! This is all the more remarkable considering that Emelie has raced all 3 races of the runtherut weekend. Incredible. Her time 6:25:44.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7699

Continuing to show incredible promise as a future star of Skyrunning, Hillary Allen followed on from a podium place at Mont-Blanc 80km to finish 2nd here in Montana. Her time 6:30:15 was under Emelie’s 2014 course record! It was no easy result though, just before the 18-mile mark Hillary went of course with 3 other ladies and this opened up the doorway for eventual 3rd placed lady, Martina Valmassoi to move into 2nd. Hillary dug deep though and gained back her 2nd place.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-2030

Martina Valmassoi running her first ultra had a breakthrough performance to finish on the podium in 6:41:42. It was quite a run.

Ashley Erba, a pre race favourite had been leading the ladies in the early stages but was forced to withdraw from the race having received extreme blister on the soles of both feet.

With the racing over and done, Big Sky Resort, the two ‘Mikes,’ Montana, the Lone Peak mountain and a stunning weekend of favourable weather has well and truly made the RUNTHERUT weekend a great showcase for Skyrunning in the USA and worldwide.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-2405

Results:

  1. Emelie Forsberg 06:25:44
  2. Hillary Allen 06:30:15
  3. Martina Valmassoi 06:41:42
  1. Franco Colle 05:16:58
  2. Cristofer Clemente 05:19:28
  3. Matt Shyrock 05:29:00