The Rut 50k takes place at Montana’s Big Sky Resort and features about 10 grand of climbing in its 31 miles, including some rocky off-trail ridgelines and a traverse over the summit of 11,166-foot Lone Peak, the resort’s crown jewel for both summer and winter play. Skyrunning has stamped its brand on this weekend festival, with the vertical K, 25k, and 50k events all being a part of both the Skyrunner World Series and U.S. Skyrunner Series. Thus, runners looking to score in both the international and/or U.S. national series will be here.
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2015 The Rut 50k Men’s Preview
Possible Podium Finishers
These are the fellas’ we think are most likely to fill the 50k podium.
Two weekends ago, American Max King worked it and took second at the UltraVasan 90k. Now this weekend, he shortens the distance by a bunch and adds a heck-ton of vertical. How’s that for racing diversity? We wouldn’t expect anything but this from Max, though. In June, Max took third at the Mont Blanc Marathon, which is probably a representative course style to The Rut. He’s still learning how to race the steep-and-long mountain races, but he should do just fine here.
The U.K.’s Ricky Lightfoot will push the men’s race along. Of late, he went sixth place at last December’s The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships, was 15th at the 2015 Zegama Marathon this past spring, and won the 2015 Ultra SkyMarathon Madeira in June. The Rut takes place at a much higher altitude than what Ricky’s accustomed to, so I wonder how it’ll affect him. [Update September 2, 6:30 a.m.: Ricky Lightfoot is not racing due to work commitments.] At about any second, I’m expecting the USA’s Dan Kraft to pop one off among international competition at a mountain race. He was seventh here last year, the 2015 Flagstaff Sky Race 55k champion, 19th at the 2015 Zegama Marathon, and third at the 2015 Speedgoat 50k. In 2012, he ran a stupid-fast 3:05 at the 20-mile and super-technical Bridger Ridge Run, and in doing so, pushed Mike Wolfe to a course-record win. This performance shows he has all the potential in the world at these technical mountain races. [Update September 2, 7:30 p.m.: Dan Kraft is nursing an injury and not racing.]
Mario Mendoza (interview) (USA) is not yet on the entrants list, but he’s racing and will shake things up for sure. He just finished fourth last weekend at the USATF 50k Trail National Championships, was 13th at the 2015 US Mountain Running Championships in July, was 20th at the 2015 World Mountain Running Association’s Long Distance Championships earlier this summer, and a winner of the 2015 USATF 50 Mile Trail National Championships. Phew. Mario can move, for sure, but how will he do on the two uber-technical sections of The Rut’s course?
Jim Walmsley (USA) got our attention last November when he won the 2014 JFK 50 Mile. He went on to take a respective third and fifth at the 2015 Moab Red Hot 55k and 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. Parts of The Rut’s course are really runnable, and parts are quite technical. At the more technical 2014 Speedgoat 50k, he finished off his potential. The Rut will be a fascinating race course for Jim, I think. [Update September 1, 2:30 p.m.: Jim Walmsley is not racing.] Rickey Gates (USA) could be a podium contender here, but I’m not sure he will be this year. The American was sixth last year, he’s signed up for Friday’s vertical K, and–perhaps the most influential performance factor–he became one of the few people to link up all of the Elk Mountain Range’s 14,000-plus-foot points this past weekend in Colorado, a 27-hour mountaineering/scrambling/hiking epic. If he’s still racing this weekend, he should still be properly worked. [Update September 1, 1:00 p.m.: Rickey Gates will run the VK and the 25k, instead of the 50k.]
Franco Colle (Italy) has shown range in his ability to compete at lots of distances. He was the winner of the 2014 Tor des Géants, was 15th at the 2015 IAU Trail World Championships, second at the 2015 Mont Blanc 80k, and seventh at the 2015 Ice Trail Tarentaise. His racing style is aggressive, so I expect him to be near the front for as long as he can hang on.
Other Top and Notable Entrants
Watch for these guys who will also be pushing the competition this weekend.
- Cristopher Clemente (Spain) — 3rd MSIG Sai Kung 50k 2015, 7th Transvulcania Ultramarathon 2015
- Josh Korn (USA) — 19th The Rut 50k 2014
- Luke Nelson (USA) — 2nd Bear 100 Mile 2014, 6th MSIG Sai Kung 50k 2015, finished off his potential here last year, so maybe he’s seeking course redemption.
- Timmy Parr (USA) — Racing the 25k the day before, seems par (pun intended!) for the course on Timmy’s prolific racing summer. Among his 2015 results include 2nd at both the 2015 Leadville Trail Marathon and 2015 Silver Rush 50 Mile, and 5th at the 2015 Speedgoat 50k.
- Chris Price (USA) — 4th Hardrock 100 Mile 2015
Gary Robbins (Canada) — Recently set a new Wonderland Trail FKT, is a brand-new father, and just put on a huge race weekend, we bet he’s fit but perpetually sleepy at this point.[Update September 2, 10:30 a.m.: Gary Robbins has withdrawn. Indeed, he’s a new dad and a little tired right now!]
- Eric Schulte (USA) — Winner Angeles Crest 100 2015 [Added September 4, 8:30 p.m.]
- Matt Shryock (interview) (USA) — 6th Mount Marathon Race 2015, 2nd The Rut 50k 2013, 11th here last year
Paul Terranova (USA) — Running the VK and the 25k before Sunday’s 50k, 10th Western States 100 2015[Update September 5, 8:30 p.m.: Paul Terranova will race the 11k, after doing the VK and 25k previously.]
On 50k Entrants List but Not Running
These fast runners remain on the entrants list but aren’t running.
- Josh Arthur — He’s focusing on the Run Rabbit Run 100 Mile in a couple weekends.
- François D’haene
- Dominic Grossman — He just finished UTMB last weekend.
- Dakota Jones — Injury recovery
- Gustavo Reyes — He just finished the Leadville 100 Mile two weekends back.
- Chris Vargo — Health issues
Other Notables on Shorter-Distance Entrants Lists
Because the vertical K and 25k are Skyrunning races, too, there are fast folks lining up in all of the weekend’s races. Here’s who will be pushing the pace in the shorter races.
- Jimmy Chin — 25k — One of the world’s best outdoor photographers, he’s known as a helluva’ athlete in multiple disciplines in order to keep up with the world-class athletes he photographs.
- Remi Bonnet — VK and 25k [Added September 3, 6:00 p.m.]
- Marco De Gasperi — 25k
- Joseph Gray — 25k
- Jessed Hernández — 25k
- Michel Lanne — 25k
- Thorbjørn Ludvingsen — VK and 25k
- Tom Owens — 25k — He was fourth at the 50k last year but is moving down distances this year.
- Tadei Pivk — 25k
- Ferran Teixidó — VK
- Xavier Teixidó — VK
- Sintu Vives Bosch — 25k
- Greg Vollet — VK and 25k
2015 The Rut 50k Women’s Preview
Possible Podium Finishers
These women likely have the best podium shot.
Sweden‘s Emelie Forsberg is the returning champion, and she’s the world-renowned mountain runner we all know. Emelie is trying to win all three divisions of the Skyrunner World Series this year, and that means she’s competing in Friday’s vertical K and Saturday’s 25k before Sunday’s 50k. Though Emelie on a good day is really difficult to beat, she’s proven that, with the frequency that she races, she doesn’t always have a good day. She remains the easy favorite, however.
Kiwi Anna Frost was third here last year and she’s back again. Like Emelie, she’s racing the VK and 25k ahead of the 50k. And, additionally, she’s won Hardrock (interview) and set a women’s FKT on the Nolan’s 14 line (interview) this summer, with the former finishing just a couple weeks ago. I’m sure she’s wicked tired so it’s unlikely she’ll be pushing the pace, but I’m sure she’s looking forward to enjoying the weekend’s festivities.
Hillary Allen (interview) (USA), this girl is on fire. Fifth here last year, I predict she’ll run at least 30 minutes faster this weekend. In July, she won the 2015 Speedgoat 50k, and set a new course record by about five minutes. (Anna Frost was the previous record holder.) Prior to that, she won the 2015 Quest for the Crest 50k and was third at the 2015 Mont Blanc 80k.
Ashley Erba (USA) is a lot of speed in a tiny package. We learned about this teenage track star turned trail runner at the 2015 Moab Red Hot 55k, where she handily won. After that, she took third at the 2015 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and won the 2015 El Vaquero Loco 50k. I’m guessing she’s close to a shoo-in for a podium spot this weekend.
Juliette Benedicto (France) came onto our radars last fall when she ran to second place at the 2014 Les Templiers. Since then, it seems she’s struggled with injury and related issues, not being able to start the 2014 TNF EC 50 Mile or finish the 2015 IAU Trail World Championships. If we get a healthy and fit Juliette here at The Rut, she’ll contend for the podium.
The USA’s Kristina Pattison (interview) is quietly going about her business, succeeding in races around the world without much fanfare. She was sixth here last year, 10th at the 2014 TNF EC 50 Mile, 2nd at the 2015 Georgia Death Race 68 Mile, sixth at the 2015 Transvulcania Ultramarathon, and sixth at the 2015 Mont Blanc 80k. This weekend’s podium is within reach for Kristina.
Other Top and Notable Entrants
Be on the lookout for the following ladies who will also be pushing the competition right along over the weekend.
- Meaghen Brown (USA) — 9th here last year, 3rd Jemez Mountain 50 Mile 2015
- Kit DesLauriers (USA) — You know, the famous ski mountaineer and freeskier, the first first to ski the Seven Summits? So rad that she’s running.
- Katie DeSplinter (USA) — 4th Angeles Crest 100 Mile 2015, 4th Black Canyon 100k 2015
- Anna Mae Flynn (USA) — 4th Way Too Cool 2015; also running the VK [Added September 4, 8:30 p.m.]
- Ligia Madrigal (Costa Rica) — 2nd Grand Mesa 50 Mile 2014
- Rebecca Much — 7th here last year, 6th Moab Trail Marathon 2014, 3rd Quest for the Crest 50k 2015
- Laura Tabor (USA) — 2nd Moab Trail Marathon 2014
- Rebecca Ulizio (USA) — Fast runner in small and local races, and an organic farmer from Montana, I haven’t seen her race among competition, so this will be fun.
Other Notables on Shorter-Distance Entrants Lists
With The Rut’s vertical K and 25k as Skyrunning races, fast women will run all of the weekend’s races. Look for these women in the shorter races.
- Kasie Enman — VK and 25k — Kasie was second at the 50k last year and is moving down in distance this year.
- Nicole Hunt — VK and 25k
- Yngvild Kaspersen — VK and 25k [Added September 3, 6:00 p.m.]
- Megan Kimmel — 25k
- Stevie Kremer — VK and 25k
- Oihana Kortazar — VK and 25k
- Maite Maiora — VK and 25k
- Eva Maria Moreda Gabaldon — 25k
- Laura Orgué — VK and 25k
- Jenny Pierce — 11k
- Meredith Terranova — 11k
Call for Comments
- Who will land on the women’s and men’s podiums?
- Who will surprise us with a breakout performance this weekend?
- Did we miss anyone? Let us know who and why you think they’ll be near the front this weekend.