Don't Fence Me In Recap

Over 700 people came out for the Don’t Fence Me In trail race last weekend in Helena. The event, hosted by Prickly Pear Land Trust, is a fundraiser for various public land projects in the Helena vicinity. PPLT is one of the loudest voices in Montana for protecting public open space and Don’t Fence Me In is a way runners and walkers can help support trail maintenance efforts.
Start of the Don't Fence Me In 30k. Photo courtesy of Anthony Pavkovich

The 2017 edition of Don’t Fence Me In served as the series opener for the inaugural Treasure State Trail Series. Those who completed the 30k are now a leg up in the standings and are one step closer to a prize package provided by Altra Running to be awarded at the series finale.

Early in the men’s race Jeremy Jones of Golden, CO and Jimmy Grant, from Missoula, separated from the field and steadily pulled away as the trail wound up Mt. Ascension. They continued to run together until the latter half of the race were Jeremy was able to pull away from Jimmy and cruise down Mt. Helena to the finish in 2:25:24. Jimmy held on for second place in 2:26:11.


Jimmy Grant moving well along the ridge. Photo courtesy of Anthony Pavkovich

In the chase pack Nico Composto, from Missoula, moved up steadily and nabbed third after a blazing descent off the top, followed closely by Helena hero Jesse Zentz and Missoulian Mark Handelman.

Although Jeremy Jones is now leading the Treasure State Trail Series, chances are good that’s the only series race he will complete being from Colorado. For now Jimmy Grant is the one to catch.

On the women’s side Amy Friedman, from Missoula, jumped out to an early lead over Leah Handelman, also from Missoula, and came through the aid station at mile seven running well. Leah used her experience from chasing Amy last year to her advantage and waited a few more miles before closing the gap. “I remembered gaining some ground last year during the last two climbs before the Mount Helena ridge so I made it a point to try that again and push it hard on those last two climbs,” said Leah. She was able to catch and pass Amy on Wakina Ridge and pull away to claim the victory in 2:54:24 while Amy hung on for second in 2:57:22.
Leah Handelman all smiles late in the race. Photo courtesy of Anthony Pavkovich


Katie Steinberg of Jackson, WY followed closely in third before two Missoulians, Jenn Brewington and Elizabeth Paddock, crossed in fourth and fifth respectively.

Following the race Blackfoot River Brewing kept the party going with a special edition brew and the weather held off long enough for participants to celebrate a great day on public lands.

The next race in the Treasure State Trail Series is the Montana Island Challenge half marathon in Lewistown, MT on July 8th. For a complete list of series races check out the series page.

The Treasure State Trail Series is presented by:



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