Preview: 2015 11 Miles to Paradise

11 Miles to Go -Credit: Justyna Tomtas/Valley Press
Sunday marks the fifth running of 11 Miles to Paradise Trail Run and kicks-off a busy Runners Edge trail season. The running store/running event company has upped its game this year by adding several new races to an already impressive line-up. Here's the 2015 Runners Edge event calendar as it stands:

May 17 - 11 Miles to Paradise

June 6 – Marshall Mountain Trail Festival

August 9 – Snowbowl Trail Race

September 4-6 – The Rut

October 4 – Blue Mountain 30K

October 18 – Fairmont Hot Springs Trail Race

October 25th – Sentinel Hill Climb

The line-up includes everything from low-key local events to world class destination races. Of all of the events Runners Edge puts on, 11 Miles to Paradise might be the perfect place to kick things off. The race takes place on a beautiful point-to-point course with runnable trail interspersed with just enough switchbacks to leave you sore the next day. There is a well-stocked aid station with Hammer Nutrition goodies horse-packed in, all kinds of snacks at the finish, and a BBQ Party at Quinn’s Hot Springs tops it all off.

The Clark Fork Riverfront course near Paradise, Montana, also has some significance behind it. It was there that Runner’s Edge owner Anders Brooker got his first taste of long distance trail running. He recalls running it as a kid trying to keep up with his dad. When the elder Brooker established and coached the first Plains High School cross-country team in 1996, the trail became a favorite training ground for his athletes. There might have been a bit of magic on the trail, Tim Brooker’s Plains Horsemen quickly produced two standout distance runners: Casey Jermyn--now owner of Bozeman Running Company--won three individual state cross-country titles for the Horsemen and Anders Brooker twice finished as state runner-up to his good friend and teammate. Both runners went on to Division I careers at Montana State and Montana, respectively. To this day, it's a Brooker family tradition to run the course on Easter Sunday with family and friends. It’s a special place for a special race.


For those of us running to Paradise this Sunday, hopefully we’ll be able to channel a little of the Plains Horseman magic ourselves. A truly great day on the course should not only see the 2013 course record (103:32) fall, but could result in someone breaking the elusive 1:00 barrier. For the ladies 1:10 could be within in reach (the current CR stands at 1;12). It’ll take someone running a good race pushed by deep competition, but a quick look at the entrants list suggests that this could be the year.

Here are some of the athletes who’ll be contending for their place on the podium. (If you know of anyone we missed who should be included on this list send an email admin@montanatrailcrew.com) Best of luck to everyone making the trip to Paradise. We look forward to seeing you there!

Women:

Nicole Hunt…Raven Hill, MT… 2-time 11 Miles to Paradise champ/CR. Former U.S. Mountain Running Team member, countless wins  in MT, including 2015 Treadmill Challenge, 2015 Expedition 12K….

Meg Brooker…Missoula, MT… 2012 11 Miles to Paradise Champ ahead of Nicole Hunt. She just ran 3:00 for the marathon last weekend in Eugene so she might not be racing. Expect her to occupy a place on the podium if she is.

Emily Linton… Missoula, MT… 4th at 2013 Rut 50K, 3rd at 2014 North Face EC 50K, winner of 2015 Behind the Rocks 30K in UT.

Men:

Jim Rucker… Big Fork, MT… 2014 11 Miles to Paradise Champ, 2:25 marathon, 1:07 half marathon

Jason Delaney… Polson, MT…Winner of 2014 Pikes Peak “Double,” winner of 2012 Pikes Peak Ascent, 2013 Missoula Marathon Champ, 2015 Snow Joke Champ, 2:19 marathoner.  

David Morris…Helena, MT... 2:09 Marathoner and former US record holder in the marathon (The list could go on and on). Top master at Missoula Half, Roots Run, Montana Cup. 5th overall at 2014 11 Miles to Paradise.

Jeremy Wolf Missoula, MT… 3rd at 2013 DFMI, 6th in 2015, 2nd at 2012 11 Miles to Paradise, 11th at 2015 Lake Sonoma 50

Jeff Rome Missoula, MT… 4th at 2015 DFMI, 3rd at 2013 Bridger Ridge Run, 4th at 2014 11 Miles to Paradise.

Jimmy Grant… Missoula, MT… 5th at 2015 DFMI, 2013 11 Miles to Paradise Champ/Course Record

Mike Foote... Missoula, MT... The RD is registered but just ran Transvulcania last week, so he's probably not racing. If he does, expect to see him in the lead pack.

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