RUN the RUT Sky Ultra 50km 2017 Summary and Images – Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

An incredible weekend of Skyrunning concluded at the RUT 50km in Montana today and Luis Alberto Hernando and Ragna Debats were crowned champions.

The RUT, part of the Migu Run Skyrunner World Series took place in the resort of Big Sky, Montana. One of the key races in the 2017 World Series and the only race in the USA along with it’s shorter 28km Sky Race.

The 0600 start was mild in comparison to others years and a 500m climb kicked off the race making sure everyone was going to get warm pretty quickly. The first 45-minutes were undertaken in darkness and then a most incredible sunrise welcomed a new day.

Covering 50km (31 miles) the race has 3040m of vertical gain and loss and 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 and technical. This is a true mountain course!

To many a Skyrunner, that is a calling card for a full-on, adrenaline packed mountain running adventure. Containing 60% single-track, 25% dirt road and 15% off-trail, the RUT really did provide a spectacular race.

What transpired was a stunning day of racing. Luis Alberto Hernando from Spain was head and shoulders above the competition running early on with Scott Patterson from Alaska but after the traverse of Headwaters Ridge he put the hammer down and left the completion fighting for 2nd. On the climb to Lone Peak, Hernando pushed and pushed, occasionally stopping to look to see how much gap he was opening up, by the summit it was over 10-minutes.

Patterson followed looking consistently strong ahead of a fragmented chasing group – the course, altitude and heat was really having an impact! So much so that the Alaskan faltered and a strong Morgan Elliott moved up from 4th after Lone Peak summit and into 2nd. He held this place all the way to the line crossing in 5:24 to Hernando’s 5:10.

Patterson somehow held on for 3rd but at the line he was shell of his former self. Dehydration took its toll and as he approached the line his legs gave way resulting in him crawling across the line to round out the podium in 5:33.

In the ladies, Ragna Debats followed on her incredible form to take a strong victory. She looked calm and relaxed throughout the day and post race she acknowledged how much she had loved the race, “It was an incredible day, I was looking around and relaxing but I was a little complacent. At the summit of Lone Peak I was caught by the 2nd lady and I had to put the hammer down to win the race.” Not only did she win but in the process set a new course record 6:13.

Continuing to show incredible promise, Brittany Peterson followed Debats all the way to the line. She had looked strong throughout the day, at the finish she looked as though she had energy to spare. Her time 6:18 allowing her a 20-minute margin over Kristina Pattison who placed 3rd in 6:42

  1. Ragna Debats (NED) 6:13
  2. Brittany Peterson (USA) 6:18
  3. Kristina Pattison (USA) 6:42
  4. Anna Dalton (USA) 6:43
  5. Phoebe Novello (USA) 7:42

 

  1. Luis Alberto Hernando (ESP) 5:10’
  2. Morgan Elliott (USA) 5:24’
  3. Scott Patterson (USA) 5:33’
  4. Pere Aurell Bove (ESP) 5:39’
  5. Chad Trammell (USA) 5:43’

RUN the RUT SkyRace 28km 2017 Summary and Images – Migu Run Skyrunner World Series

The RUT is now an integral part of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series, the 28km is considered by many in the US and Europe to be a pure Skyrunning race. It is a logical course with an aesthetic loop, plenty of vertical and an abundance of technical trail.

2375m of vertical await the runners and 3 major climbs make this a tough and real challenge. It may come as now surprise the high-point of the course is Lone Peak. It’s 3400m+ summit sitting high in the sky and towering over the Big Sky ski resort.

In a contrast to 2016, the weather this year was incredible with blue skies, no wind and warm temperatures – maybe a little too hot for some runners

Pascal Egli and Aritz Egea were the early protagonist pulling away and extending a gap over the competition. Climbing up to Lone Peak summit Egli was looking relaxed extending a small gap over Egea. Behind rising star Jan Margaret was in 3rd but not looking his smooth and usual self.

In the ladies race it came as no surprise that Laura Orgue was following up the previous days VK victory with a masterclass of Skyrunning. She opened a lead early on and just as in the VK, the gap extended and extended. On the climb to Lone Peak the competition wasn’t in sight.

Behind Addie BracyHillary Gerardi, Taylor Nowlin and Michele Adrian followed but they were spread out on the mountain and they were racing for 2nd.

On the descent of Lone Peak as the runners made their way to the latter sections of the course, disaster struck for Egli, he missed a turn through a lack of concentration and this opened the door for Egea to take the victory in 3hrs 16min. Egli finished 3-minutes later and then Margarit rounded out the podium in 3:20.

Laura Orgue once again pulled off another incredible Skyrunning victory showing that she is ‘the’ lady to beat at the moment in 3:50. A storming run by Taylor Nowlin saw her move up from 4th on the climb to Lone Peak and see her finish 2nd ahead of Hillary Gerardi, their times 4:03 and 4:16.

Post race, many of the runners expressed how technical the race was and how the altitude played a key factor in the severity of the race

Attention now turns to Sundays 50km event which will start at 0600 local time.

Results:

1 – Laura Orgué (ESP) – 3h50’13”

2 – Taylor Nowlin (USA) – 4h03’21”

3 – Hillary Gerardi (USA) – 4h16’03”

4 – Michela Adrian (USA) – 4h22’59”

5 – Addie Bracy (USA) – 4h31’48”

 

1 – Aritz Egea (ESP) – 3h16′

2 – Pascal Egli (SWI) – 3h19′

3 – Jan Margarit Solé (ESP) – 3h20′

4 – Kiril Nikolov – Disl (BUL) – 3h21′

5 – JP Donovan (USA) – 3h22′

Lone Peak VK Summary and Images – 2017 Vertical Kilometer World Circuit

The Vertical Kilometer World Circuit continues in Montana, tUSA with Run the Rut, today it was the Lone Peak VK. It may not be the steepest VK on the circuit but it certainly is dramatic with the finish line high in the sky, Lone Peak summit was always visible.

The route is steep and direct in the early stages following mainly expansive ski trails. At the Bone Crusher, the runners go to the impressive Alto ridge, here it gets steep, gnarly and technical with plenty of hands-on-knees action and scrambling with some via ferrata before the final sections of exposed rock and loose terrain to the summit.

The early stages were always going to be about finding a rhythm and tackling the early steep and slippery gradients. The route was wide though and overtaking was no issue. The mass start soon became single-file as the gradient took it’s toll. Mike Popejoy was the main protagonist Scott Patterson, race RD Mike Foote and JP Donovan following.

For the ladies, Laura Orgue was in her own race extending a convincing lead on the early slopes and once at halfway, she eased off the pressure knowing victory was secure. Behind, Jennifer Kunzman, Beth Shumante and Rachel Poulton followed.

Altitude played a key factor in the Lone Peak VK, starting above 2000m is very difficult for those with little or no adaptation. When combined with challenging terrain, this only adds to the problem. Unlike other VK’s the Lone Peak VK is unique with its mixture of surfaces. The loose and large rocks create many frustrations as often it stops participants getting a rhythm, this is contrasted by the early sections when it’s possible to find a good momentum despite the steep gradients. The summit arrives at a lung busting 3400m altitude.

Through Bone Crusher, Laura Orgue was over 10-minutes clear of the competition but the men’s race was much closer with Mike Popejoy holding a 30-second lead over JP Donovan and then Mike Foote followed further back

In the final section to the summit, the terrain becomes much steeper and underfoot it is very lose. This played into JP Donovans skill set and he took the lead and victory, 21-seconds ahead of Mike Poejoy and Mike Foote finished 3rd another 18-seconds back.

Laura Orgue crossed the line in 54:29 and Jennifer Kunzman and Beth Shumnante placed 2nd and 3rd, their times 1:08:38 and 1:09:46 respectively.

Attention now turns to Saturday’s 28km event which starts at 0800, both Orgue and Donovan will try for the double! It will prove to be fast race, the mixed terrain includes single track, jeep roads, alpine ridge lines and at the summit of the iconic Lone Peak a gnarly and technical descent brings the runners back to the resort of Big Sky where the race started.

Results:

1. JP Donovan (USA) – 47’27”

2. Mike Popejoy (USA) – 48’48”

3. Mike Foote (USA) – 50’06”

4. Scott Patterson (USA) – 51’18”

5. Jan Margarit Solé (ESP) – 51’41”

 

1. Laura Orgué (ESP) – 54’29”

2. Jennifer Kunzman (USA) – 1h08’38”

3. Beth Shumate (USA) – 1h09’46”

4. Rachel Poulton (USA) – 1h10’44”

5. Emily Kipp (USA)- 1h14’51”

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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

RUN the RUT 2016 SKY 28km Summary and Images – Skyrunner® World Series

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-1367

An integral part of the Skyrunner® World Series, the RUT 28km is considered by many in the US and Europe to be a pure Skyrunning race with a logical course that goes up and down with an abundance of technical trail. The race offers extremely steep and technical terrain in many sections of the course and loose rock is a real hazard.

Covering 28km what this race lacks in distance is made up for in technicality and challenge. With 2375m of vertical gain this 28km course is basically the RUT 50km on steroids as it includes all 3 major climbs of its bigger brother.

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The highest point of the race comes at Lone Peak which tops out just above 3000m. Altitude, technical running and exposure from the elements, cold and strong winds makes the 28k one seriously tough race!

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Three wave starts with 5-minute gaps avoided congestion on the course with all the top elites departing in wave 1 on the stroke of 0800. Despite forecasts for inclement weather, conditions were excellent for running and maybe just a little chilly for spectating. The summit of Lone Peak was shrouded in mist and cloud and remained that way for much of the day as the wind moved one block of cloud only replace it with another.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-2986

Dakota Jones returning to racing after a lay off with injury was the early protagonist pulling away and extending a gap over an inform Hassan Ait Chaou.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-2998Climbing up to Lone Peak summit Dakota was looking relaxed and barring a fall or injury was looking strong for victory. Hassan equally looked relaxed and calm, constantly looking forward he had his eyes on the American in the distance with one objective, to chase him down.

©iancorless.com_Rut2016_SKY-1413Michael Barlow pushed and following behind was a small group of 3 containing Kiril Nikolov, Jan Megabit Sole and Timmy Parr.

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In the ladies race it came as no surprise that Megan Kimmel took the bull by the horns and lead the race from the front as she so often does. Victory at the 2015 edition of the race no doubt helping with her confidence levels and her ability to judge her pace and effort over the 28km. Yngvild Kaspersen pursued and behind last year’s 2nd place, Laura Orgue was holding off Najeeby Quinn and Sarah Pizzo.

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On the descent of Lone Peak as the runners made their way to the latter sections of the course, disaster struck for Dakota and he rolled an ankle that would later cause him to pull out of the race. This opened the door for Hassan and he never looked back crossing the line for a well-earned victory almost 8-minutes ahead of 2nd place. Behind all hell was breaking loose and Bulgarian Kiril put in a big effort to place 2nd ahead of Jan Megabit Sole and Michael Barlow who had a head-to-head full on sprint for the line. Timmy Parr placed 5th and Lone Peak VK winner, Andrej Fejfar placed 6th.

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It may come as no surprise that lady on fire Megan Kimmel once again pulled off another incredible Skyrunning victory showing that she is ‘the’ lady to beat at the moment. Yngvild ran a very strong 2nd and crossed the line with a huge smile just over 7-minutes back and Laura Orgue, winner of the previous days VK finished 3rd despite having taken a fall.

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Post-race, many of the runners expressed how technical the downhill section was but Megan Kimmel took it all in her stride:

“I felt good today and I was certainly more confident having run and won the race last year. The temperatures were ideal for running, yes, it was a little cold and windy at the Lone Peak summit but that didn’t last long. This is a really technical course in places and I was happy to consolidate my lead and take no risks. I will now race in Limone in October.”

Hassan Ait Chaou is certainly on form and this is a well-deserved victory:

“The race was okay, I suffered with the altitude and it caused me headaches but I kept the pace. I held myself back on the first climb and then pushed hard on the downhill. I am really happy to take this victory!”

Attention now turns to Sundays 50km event which will start at 0600 local time and the weather forecast is not good – fingers crossed! You can read a preview of the race HERE.

Results:

1    Megan Kimmel 3:36:26

2    Yngvild Kaspersen +7:05

3    Laura Orgue +19:50

 

1    Hassan Ait Chaou 3:06:40

2    Kiril Nikolov +7:55

3    Jan Megabit Sole +8:20


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

RUN the RUT 2016 Preview – Skyrunner® World Series

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Big Sky Montana hosts the Run the Rut weekend of racing, the next step in the 2016 Skyrunner® World Series; 3-days, 3 races and 3 incredible experiences. Located between the wonderful town of Bozeman and the iconic Yellowstone Park, if ever a race existed that should combine with a holiday experience, this is it.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-7699
Big Sky sits between Bozeman and Yellowstone and the isolated Lone Peak mountain provides a stunning backdrop for the Run the Rut races of VK, Sky and Ultra. The advantages of using a ski resort as a race hub are clear to see. Utilising 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.

In just a couple of years the Rut races have become a flagship race in the USA. 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.

©iancorless.com_Rut2015-6057

Vertical K

On Friday 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.

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Ondrej Fejfar from the Czech Republic is potentially one of the favourites for a podium place but without doubt, Ferran Teixido is the odds-on winner as he currently heads up the SWS VK ranking. Chris Mocko (plans to run all 3 races over the weekend) placed 7th at the 2016 Western States 100 which obviously shows great ability, how that transfers to a VK is difficult to say. Experienced Skyrunner Luke Nelson who recently raced in Norway at the Tromso SkyRace will look to do the double here at the Rut also racing in the SkyRace too. Brendan Trimboli was the recent winner of Squamish 50k, again, like Mocko, it’s difficult to predict how these skills will transfer to an all out VK effort… We can expect Brendan to be in the mix. Seth Swanson is also on the start list as is Jan Margarit and both could potentially produce a surprise in this all out vertical race.

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Laura Orgue is without doubt the heads and shoulders favourite for the VK, this is her speciality. Recently she has been a little jaded and she had a below par performance at the VK in Tromso, however, I predict a victory at Lone Peak. Strong competition will come from Laura’s teammate Yngvild Kaspersen and we can anticipate Corrine Malcolm and Sarah Bard to contest the podium. As a note, Laura and Yngvild will also run the SkyRace.

SkyUltra 50km

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The ultra gains 10,500 feet of elevation and as with all the other races visits the summit of Lone Peak but in a less pleasing and aesthetic run. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great course but the SkyRace has the more logical and pure course.

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The men’s race is an interesting one with Cristofer Clemente and Matt Skyrock both returning after success in the 2015 race. Cristofer has been injured of late so this race may well provide a return to form.

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Mike Aish 2nd at the recent Leadville Silver Rush is potentially a contender for the podium and Matias Saari, Morgan Elliott and Paddy O’Leary are all expected to be in the mix with recent victories at Angels Creek 50m, Power of Four 50k and Canyons 100k respectively. Noah Brautigam placed just outside the top-10 in the same race last year and he may well contest a higher place this year. Chris Mocko would have been a contender for the podium but he will already have a VK and SkyRace in his legs. Nicholas Martin is the odds on favourite for victory and he will no doubt slip under the radar but watch out, victory is his for the taking! Finally, Roger Vinas is also one to watch.

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The ladies’ race is an interesting one with Ida Nilsson heading up the field after her impressive Transvulcania victory, however, the Rut has many technical sections and Ida does like to run… Still my tip for victory (or 2nd*)! Alicia Shay may well push Ida for the first past the post and in all honesty, it could go anyway. Ashley recently won the Flagstaff SkyRace and Alicia was 4th behind Ida at Transvulcania.

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Hillary Allen was 5th last year but has progressed considerably in the last 12-months, for me, she is a stronger runner and providing that she is fresh a higher placing is a possibility this year.

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Martina Valmassoi and Kristina Pattison placed 3rd and 4th in the 2015 edition and both have been racing and strong and consistently recently – the top 5 is wide open! Anna Comet will also race and like all the ladies mentioned before her, she has podium and almost definitely top-5 potential. Strong competition will also come from Denali Strabel, Anne Wheatly, Sarah Woerner. But I save the big surprise for the last, expect Anne Lise Rousset* to be the wild card who takes the bull by the horns and wins the race outright or at worst as a head-to-head battle with Ida for victory and takes 2nd.

SkyRace

For me, the SkyRace is the most pleasing race of the Rut weekend as the proportion of vertical gain and descent, technical running all blend together in the most logical and pleasing race.

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Marc Lauenstein after placing 2nd at Zegama-Aizkorri (behind Kilian) and recently winning Matterhorn Ultraks heads up the race along with an inform Dakota Jones. This duo certainly brings an interesting dynamic to the race and we can expect a proper head-to-head battle, especially with Dakota’s recent win at Squamish 50k and victory at Broken Arrow SkyRace. For me though, Marc gets the nod! Hassan Ait Chaou has been on fire this year and although he hasn’t taken a big victory he has always been close, recent highlights came at SkyRace Comapedrosa and Matterhorn Ultraks. Micha Steiner is a rising star of the Skyrunning ranks and we can expect him to do well, he was racing at an extremely high level at the recent Dolomites SkyRace until a couple of falls knocked his confidence. Eric Strabel may well be the one who really shakes things up as he has been a dominant force in Alaska. His results at Mount Marathon will bode well for the ascent and descent of Lone Peak. Luke Nelson, Justin Ricks, Timmy Parr are all runners who will be in the mix, the race is possibly a little short for Luke but Justin and Timmy have local knowledge – it will play a huge advantage. Kirin Nikolov, Greg Vollet (?), Ondrei Fejfar, Ted Farley, Michael Barlow and Eugeni Gil Ocana make up the other top contenders for the top-10.

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It’s fair to say the ladies’ race will be all about Megan Kimmel and Laura Orgue. It’s going to be an exciting head-to-head and one that I think Megan will take. She has been on fire and her recent victory at Matterhorn Ultraks was impressive. Laura can no doubt push Megan but with a VK in her legs and recent fatigue I think she may well be racing for 2nd. But Yngvild Kaspersen is not to be ruled out, this lady goes up and down super quick and after a break through victory in Hong Kong last year and victory at Zegama-Aizkorri in 2016, the Rut podium is there for the taking! Ragna Debats is 2nd in the SWS and is performing consistently well in 2016 – that is what the series is all about! I see her in the mix but not on top of the podium. I have Ashley Erba listed in the SkyUltra too but I think her strength may well fall in the SkyRace and considering this race is before the ultra, this is where the performance will come. Marta Molist, Sarah Pizzo, Maria Zorroza and Aitziber Ibarbia are all ones to watch for top-10 placings.

The RUT – 50km 2015 Race Images and Summary

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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

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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.

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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!’

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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