As the former program coordinator for Run Wild Missoula, Hillary Ogg is very familiar with the local running scene. This month, however, she stepped way out of her comfort zone and ran the Rut 28k. We love seeing runners push their limits  and Hillary pushed hard enough to earn the coveted ‘Runner of the Month’ designation for October. 

How long have you been running? Consistently since 2003 – I tried for years before that (starting at about age 11) and wasn’t great at it. I always felt like I couldn’t breathe…turns out I had asthma all those years and didn’t know!
You just finished the Rut, what was that like?  The Rut 28K was the scariest, most humbling, most amazing thing I’ve ever done. I am still in awe that my legs and body carried me up and down all that terrain and that, despite some serious bonks/mistakes that day, I freaking finished. It inspired me in a million different ways, not just in regard to my running, and it was a truly life changing experience. When I signed up last January, I had no idea how much it would affect every single decision I made every day for the time leading up to the race.
What is your favorite color?  Probably a coral-orange. I kind of love all colors, but lean toward oranges and pinks (preferably a combo of the two!).
We heard it was a challenging day out there for you. What does overcoming something like that mean to you?  Going into the Rut I kept saying my goal was to get on and off the mountain of my own volition. I didn’t really think about not making the cut offs at the aid stations and I didn’t think that my original goal (it sounded pretty simple and I’m pretty damn stubborn!) would turn out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. On race day, it was way hotter than I thought it was going to be and there was a bit of smoke in the air. My asthma had been awful since about mid-July (I’m allergic to SMOKE!) and I was worried about that.  Once we (I ran with my friend and brother’s girlfriend, Hannah!) made it through Swift Current aid station, I was just jacked to head up Lone Peak and then get to the next aid station. I had no idea what the terrain back there was like, how hot it would be, and how far that aid station really was from Swift Current. We made it to the last aid station and the awesome volunteers were shouting, “FIFTEEN SECONDS!”
I forgot to eat at the aid station because I was so focused on crossing the mat before we missed the cut off and refilling my water (I was totally out)…and then we went up the road instead of down the trail. Whoops. We added an extra mile onto our total mileage that day and I ended up hitting an unreal, DARK, mental place about two miles from the finish: I didn’t know how many more miles I had left because of our wrong turn, we could hear the finish line for what seemed like FOREVER, I was so worried I wasn’t going to make the cut off time, it was SO HOT, and I was crashing from not enough calories. My husband was texting me asking if I needed him to come get me and I had this moment (sitting on the side of the trail, dizzy and dry heaving) when I realized, even if someone came to get me, it wasn’t like they would actual carry me down the mountain – I still had to use my own body to get off the course.
Hannah and I had a moment where we assessed, realized I hadn’t eaten, ate, drank some water, and just decided to get it done. One step at a time, didn’t matter how long it took, we were crossing that damn finish line together. It all came back to my original goal: I was going to get on and off the mountain via my own will power and resolve (which was only possible coupled with the massive amount of moral support from my family and friends!).
Even though I was literally one of the last 28K’ers to cross that finish line, I still attained my original goal. It was a completely life changing experience (and, yes, I’m totally getting my own commemorative Rut tattoo…not so much the antlers, but something I’m coming up with one my own – stay tuned).
What is your favorite food?  Seafood…dungeness crab, shrimp, clams. Hard to come by in Montana…
What’s the next big challenge on the horizon for you?  My goal for 2018 is to run a half marathon in under 2 hours. The closest I’ve come is 2:00:35…I will beat that damn clock!
Congratulations Hillary! Good luck in that half marathon, we will be cheering for you.