MTC Weekly News: 7/28/16

Forrest Boughner winning the Sentnel Hill Climb. Credit: @forrestboughner via Instagram
The heart of summer is here and Montana runners are taking advantage by exploring the high country and toeing the line at local events. There are also some projects underway to keep an eye out for that are impacting some popular routes.


Sentinel Hill Climb:

Traditionally a fall classic, the Sentinel Hill Climb made its summer debut on Sunday with a field of talented runners. Although 2-time Hill Climb champ Jim Walmsley was notably absent, several familiar names topped the podiums. Forrest Boughner scored a big win among the men by reaching the summit first in 22:02. The big vertical Forrest has logged this summer with his Montana Mountain Project appears to have paid off as he edged Polson's Jason Delaney (22:17), a former Pikes Peak Ascent Champ. Impressively, Delaney kept things close despite being just two weeks removed from his 3rd place finish at the Missoula Marathon (2:30:25) and just one day removed from throwing down a fast road 5K at the Bigfork River Run. Missoula's Aaron Newell finished in a close 3rd in 22:42. 2014 Champ Cynthia Arnold of Polson scored the win in dominant fashion among women in 24:10 followed by defending champ and Sentinel Hill Climb legend Nicole Hunt (25:31) in 2nd while Great Falls speedster Marilee Woyth continues to find success on Missoula trails by finishing in 3rd (26:44).

The Gallatin Crest, site of the Devil's Backbone 50. Credit: @pederanderson via Instagram
Devil's Backbone 50 Mile

This Southwest Montana classic took place on July 16 and featured some talented Bozeman runners. David Ayala earned the win in impressive fashion, some 36 minutes better than the course record he had previously shared with Seth Swanson. His standout performance put him well ahead of runner-up Peder Anderson whose 8:57 effort was still fast enough to place him 6th on the race's all-time list. Jeff Ho took 3rd in 9:49. Bozeman's Eliza Eddy took the win among women, followed by Katie Goins Lavaux of Missoula (13:06) and Pam Harght of Austin, TX (14:58).

Marshall Woods Project

The USFS Marshall Woods thinning project continues in the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area. I was up there a couple days ago, but didn't cross paths with any of the thinning crews. But anyone traveling the main corridor will likely encounter workers. Here's the project schedule and a field trip for the public to learn more.

The man on his mountain. Jeff Rome on our last Sentinel lunch run.
Weekly Group Run and Goodbye Jeff Rome

Today marked the end of an era for Montana Trail Crew with our last weekly noontime group run up Mount Sentinel. We started the group run in 2013 and have kept up the tradition most weeks, logging around 100 of them over the years. Given some personal scheduling changes I need to step away from organizing them. But what really sealed the demise of this tradition is the coming departure of Jeff Rome for PT school in Maine. Jeff has been a mainstay on the group runs since he moved here two years ago, so now feels like the right time to call it quits. I first met Jeff while hitch hiking to the start of the 2013 Bridger Ridge Run. We  both scored the same ride and shared many miles along the course before he edged me out for the final spot on the the podium. We shared many miles since and he'll definitely be missed, as will his occasional stories of adventure and mishaps that have appeared in this blog. For a Jeff Rome classic check out his take on the Le Grizz here. Although the weekly "nooner' is no more, perhaps a blog reader is interested in taking the reigns and starting their own MTC weekly group run? If interested please email me jimmy@montanatrailcrew.com.

Pints for Trails

Last week I had the good fortune to volunteer with MTB Missoula to pour beer at the Big Sky Summer Concert Series. As we've written in the past, we're proud to partner with MTB Missoula whenever we can because of our shared commitment to building and improving trails throughout the region. As part of the concert series, the brewery hosts a different non-profit for each show and MTB Missoula is one of the lucky organizations to benefit from all proceeds of beer sales at the events. The funds generated during these events will go a long way toward trail improvements.It also proved to be a fun night spent with good people. Thanks Big Sky Brewing Co. and MTB Missoula!

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