The second annual The Rut 50k will kick off on Saturday, September 13 at 6 a.m. MDT in Big Sky, Montana. In just one year, the race directors Mike Wolfe and Mike Foote have taken the race from its inaugural edition to the final of the Skyrunner World Series Ultra Series. As the Skyrunner ultra finale, there’ll be some amazing showdowns in both fields.
We’ll, of course, be covering The Rut live on Saturday. Thanks to Salomon Running for helping make that possible!
Women’s Field – 2014 The Rut 50k
Women, For The Win
The race for the win will be fierce and one of four ladies is likely to finish first. To start, there’s the Salomon Skyrunning showdown between Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg, and Kasie Enman. Throw in Canadian crusher Ellie Greenwood and, yeah, wow.
For the better part of two years, Emelie Forsberg (pre-race interview) seemingly won every race she entered. That’s not been the case the past few weeks. She was off the podium at the Matterhorn Ultraks 46k in Switzerland a few weeks ago and got lost big time at Trofeo Kima two weekends ago to take second to Kasie Enman. On top of that, she may be be a little tired after making her race directing debut this past weekend in putting on the Tromso Skyrace with Kilian Jornet. Still, it’s hard to bet against Emelie in a mountain race of this distance.
For a moment, I wanted to think of Anna Frost (pre-race interview) as a strong dark horse… then I remembered that she’s put last year well behind her. In the past four months, there was her course record-setting win at Transvulcania in May (post-race interview) and win at Speedgoat 50k in July (post-race interview). Anna was eighth at the Pike Peak Ascent in mid-August… but that was assuredly not a race that she tailored her training toward. So, what’s Frosty been up to other than winning? Tomping around the high peaks of the American mountain west. After playing in Utah’s Uinta mountains in late-July, she’s spent heaps of time in Colorado’s Sawatch Range checking out the Nolan’s 14 route and bagging 14ers on a daily basis. To tune up for The Rut, she jumped in a road half marathon in Leadville this past weekend.
Expect to see Kasie Enman leading women’s field at 10k and, probably, at midway. She’s proven herself to be an aggressive racer all season. She’s come so close to nailing a win at similar races like the Zegama Marathon (5th), Speedgoat 50k (2nd, less than two minutes behind Anna) (post-race interview), and Ultraks (4th). One of these races, she’ll surely hold it together and take the win. Kasie did win Trofeo Kima two weekends ago, but other than Forsberg (who got lost), no women in the race were in the same league as Kasie.
One of these three ladies is likely to end of the Ultra Skymarathon Series champion for 2014. In fact, if any one of these women wins the race, she’ll also bring home the series title!
I’m pretty sure Ellie Greenwood (pre-race interview) would say that The Rut isn’t her kind of course. I’d agree, but she’s fresh and running incredibly well since returning to racing this year with a win at the Chuckanut 50k in March (post-race interview), an incredible come-from-behind win at the Comrades Marathon in June (race report), and a third place at the Speedgoat 50k in July (post-race interview). A few weeks ago she nearly took second overall at the Squamish 50k (post-race interview). While there are some steep and gnarly climbs at high elevation at The Rut, there’s also buttery, runnable mountain bike trail that Ellie can blaze. On the off (but real) chance that bad weather keeps the race off Lone Peak, Ellie becomes the instant favorite.
Other Top Women
Hillary Allen put us on notice in placing fourth behind only Frost, Enman, and Greenwood at the Speedgoat 50k in July. Earlier in the year, she’d had strong runs in taking third at the Red Hot Moab 55k and winning the Bighorn 50 mile.
Italy’s Alessandra Carlini leads the 2014 Ultra Skymarathon Series rankings. That’s largely a matter of her being the only possible ultra series contender to have finished the maximum number of scoring races (three) in the ultra series. For perspective, Carlini was tenth woman at Transvulcania, more than 90 minutes behind Frost, and, then, more than 90 minutes behind Enman in taking sixth at Kima. She was second to Forsberg at Ice Trail Tarentaise in July.
Watch out for Cynthia Arnold. Before she had her child, she was burning up shorter trail races. For example, her last notable finish I can recall is a second place at the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2011.
Bozeman’s Kaitlin MacDonald could be the strongest local, having placed second at The Rut in 2013. She also won the Bridger Ridge Run last year. (She was fourth this year.)
Corrine Malcolm, a top US biathlete with trail running experience, could be one of the surprises on the day. September 10 Update: Corrine Malcolm, won’t be racing due to injury.
- Rhea Black — Eleventh at Speedgoat this year.
- Helen Cospolich — Helen’s been away from racing this year. If she’s been healthy of late, she could finish in the second five.
- Minde Erickson — This staple at Bozeman’s Bridger Ridge Run (third this year) was sixth at The Rut last year.
- Emily Judd-Lamson — If the race were five hours longer, super-strong Emily would be on another list. In the past two years, she’s won the Wasatch and Tahoe Rim 100s.
- Emily Linton — Fourth at The Rut in 2013.
- Kathryn Ross — This year, second at Leadville Trail Marathon and first at Kendall Mountain Run.
- Anya Wechsler — Second at the Bighorn 50 mile this year and fifth at The Rut last year.
Women Enter But Not Racing
- Ashley Arnold
Call for Comments
- So who’s excited for this showdown?
- Which lady is going to win The Rut?
- Any surprises we should keep our eyes out for?