On September 20th, Runner’s Edge Events will be holding the Blue Mountain 30k for the 11th year in a row. Since 2009, this fall race has been a fundraiser for the Hellgate High School cross country team.
For the past 7 years, Steve Lodmill and Scott Samuels have run this race together–some years finishing together, and other years within a few minutes of one another. Both men have children who competed for the Hellgate Cross Country team. Prior to the Blue Mountain 30k, neither man had completed a trail race quite this long.
We love this tradition between Steve and Scott so much that we decided to find out what brought them to run this race with each other for so many years. Read below to read the whole interview!
Both of you have run the Blue Mountain 30k together (or finished within a few minutes of one another) since 2013. What inspired this tradition?
Scott: I was not a runner when I turned 50-years-old (almost a decade ago); instead of buying a red convertible for my midlife crisis, I decided to do the hardest thing I could think of: run the Pengelly Double Dip! I finished that awesome race, but it thoroughly crushed me. So, about a year later when my dear friend Steve, whose office is across the hall from mine, suggested we support HKXC (which included our oldest kids, Tessa and Sean, on the team) by signing up for the BM30K, I thought he was crazy and I knew there was no way that I could run that race. However, we trained and we ended up having a fabulous time: we completed the spectacular 18-mile course about 45 minutes faster than expected…and that began our long and fruitful tenure as running buddies, which, as Steve mentioned, has included some epic races and adventures.
Steve: Scott and I have been friends for a long time. Back in 2013, both of us were running regularly, but modest distances, mostly just to get out and get our dogs out in the early mornings. I had heard of the BM30k from my friend Renate Bush, who said it was fun. I asked Scott if he wanted to give it a try- both of us thought the distance and elevation were intimidating, since we didn’t really see ourselves in that league of running. But we laughed and said ‘what the heck?’ and signed up! We somehow finished without dying and it was the gateway into a series of longer runs that we aspired to afterward, including the Rut 50K, Pikes Peak Marathon, and the Big Horn 50M.
Is this a rivalry or a camaraderie?
Scott: We often cross the finish line together, but we have also taken turns and I think both of us would like to finish under three hours one of these years.
Steve: The BM30k is certainly camaraderie! We both encourage the other one to run his best race, but we still wind up finishing pretty close every year!
What is your favorite part about the Blue Mountain 30k?
Scott: No question: the HKXC athletes staffing the aid stations is the raison d’être! However, the course is absolutely my favorite: beautiful and challenging. I also agree with Steve that the vibe is supportive and joyous.
Steve: My favorite parts of the MB30K are the HKXC kids at the aid stations and the easygoing atmosphere on the course and at the bbq afterwards. It’s a fun local run that goes for a good cause- keeps us coming back!
Any highlights from the past 7 years of running the Blue Mountain 30k that stick out to you?
Scott: One highlight was the first year: I remember climbing up from the last aid station, which is a grunt, and Steve waiting for me at the top in the sunshine utterly bathed in a runner’s high. I also fondly remember cranking down the motorcycle trails toward that last aid station trying to keep up with him and just being a bit out-of-control. Of course, the best memories are those student athletes rooting for us.
Steve: I have a lot of very fond and vivid memories of the run. Scott and I have both had injuries or health issues that made the course seem especially daunting at times, but it has become the single race that we don’t even seriously question whether or not we’re going to sign up. For me, it’s the one motivation for staying in reasonable shape in the months leading up to the BM30k!
Thank you to Scott and Steve for taking the time to answer our questions and for supporting Hellgate Cross Country over the years! There are still several spots left in the Blue Mountain 30k. Click here for more information.