2021 Treadmill Challenge Preview

The Treadmill Challenge is BACK. Typically a February festivity, the Treadmill Challenge was postponed in 2021 due to COVID. Packing the Runner’s Edge wall-to-wall with hundreds of screaming fans seemed like the last possible thing to do during this past winter. Thankfully the pandemic is on retreat in Montana and we are grateful to hold the Treadmill Challenge again, now outside!

Tuesday, July 13th, 6 of Montana’s fastest men and women will go head-to-head for 10 minutes on the Treadmill at a 12% grade (for those Strava nerds out there, a 12% grade gains 633.6 feet for every mile travelled.)  There will be two heats of 3 runners for each gender, with the winner of each heat (the runner that goes the farthest) and the runner with the next farthest distance advancing to the final.  In the final, whoever runs the farthest over the course of 10 minutes takes home the title of King or Queen of the Treadmill.

This year, we are so excited to hold the Treadmill Challenge in tandem with the 20th Anniversary Runner’s Edge Store Party at ig Sky Brewing.  The event will be a fundraiser for Youth Homes–an organization whose mission it is to provide support, security, and housing for children across Western Montana. RSVP to the store party and Treadmill Challenge here!

The Fields

This year we’ve brought together some of the strongest competition the Treadmill Challenge has ever seen. Read below to learn about our great athletes.

The Men

Zac Perrin: Formerly a sub-4 minute miler at the University of Colorado and still the Montana High School record holder in the 3200 meters, this toe-headed Montana Legend now lives in Bozeman and trains with his girlfriend, Makena Morley.  This will be Zach’s first appearance at the Treadmill Challenge.  Can his twine-like calves handle the grade?

Monte Cole: Making his second appearance at the Treadmill Challenge, Monte is hungry for more.  In 2020, Monte just barely missed advancing to the final round, but now with 516 days to train for the 2021 Treadmill Challenge, Monte is in the best shape of his life.  Most recently, Monte broke the old course record and finished 2nd at the River of No Return 55k in Challis, Idaho.

Chase Green: Coming off of a 4th place in the 3200 and a team title at both the Montana High School State Track Meet and cross country meet with Missoula Sentinel, Chase is our only high school runner in the Treadmill Challenge.  With pr’s of 9:30 in the 3200 and 4:28 in the 1600, Chase is one of the faster runners in our field.  He also asked to be a part of the Treadmill Challenge, which is NOT common.

Kris Brown: Hailing from Santa Barbara, California, Kris Brown, is new to Missoula but not new to racing uphill.  Kris runs for HOKA ONE ONE in races up to 100 miles, most notably finishing 3rd in HOKA’s 2021 Carbon X2 100k in 6hours and 39 minutes, averaging a pace of 6:20/mile For 62 miles.  Can he average such a pace for 10 minutes on the mill?

Isaac Schmidt:  Isaac graduated from Hellgate High School, where he ran for the legendary Anders Brooker for 4 years.  Famously known around Missoula for his record on the infamous Whitaker Hill Climb, if Isaac is even close to his full potential he should be a contender.  Now a senior running for Montana State University, Isaac is in the middle of his summer training and ready to rip at the Treadmill Challenge.

Adam Peterman: After a career running at the University of Colorado, Adam returned to Missoula to pursue running on the trails. He now runs for HOKA ONE ONE and is widely known for his ability to take excellent “dad selfies”. Adam has dominated the Treadmill Challenge the past two years, including breaking Jim Walmsley’s former record. Speaking of breaking records, Adam also broke Walmsley’s record at the Sentinel Hill Climb. This guy can run up hill, FAST. Can anyone beat Adam? Can anyone take a dad-selfie as bad as Adam?

The Women

Erin Forde: You may know Erin as a friendly, bubbly face at the Runner’s Edge. But watch out, she’s a fierce competitor. Although she is more of a road marathoner these days, Erin has been a finalist at the Treadmill Challenge in years past.  She previously ran at University of Iowa as a middle distance runner, and now coaches at Hellgate High School.  Erin is also a great friend to have, as she laughs at all jokes, no matter how terrible.

Nicole Murray: Nicole is an absolute machine at the Treadmill Challenge.  Undefeated every time that she’s competed, she was also a 2x US Olympic Marathon trials qualifier, a US National Champion in Mountain Running, and a 2x member of the US National Team for Mountain Running.  Nicole is coming off of a 2nd place finish at the Sentinel Hill Climb, so she is certainly looking forward to reclaiming an uphill crown.

Abby Kendrick: A recent graduate of Hellgate High School, Abby recently placed 3rd in the 1600 at the Montana High School State Track Meet.  Abby is also the manager of a popular vlog which chronicles the last couple years on the Hellgate Cross Country Team.  Next year, Abby will be running for Boise State University.  At the Treadmill Challenge, her primary focus will likely be defeating her coach, Erin Forde.

Elise Stearns: Another Hellgate Grad, Elise is headed into her 3rd year running for Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.  Previously a competitor in the Treadmill Challenge in 2019, Elise is looking to qualify for the final and also to try and defeat her old coach, Erin Forde.

Trisha Drobeck: Multiple time Missoula Marathon Champion and 2016 US Olympic Trials Marathon Qualifier, Trisha is a beast on the road scene. With her most recent results of 2:52 from the Utah Valley Marathon in June, we’re all left wondering: can she compete with her husband’s Treadmill Challenge outfits? We’ll find out on Tuesday.

Evie Tate: The Treadmill Challenge Champion from 2019 RETURNS.  Evie has been steadily chipping away for the past two years, running as early as 4:30 in the morning to get in her training.  Rumor has it that she is in the best shape of her life for this event.  While she isn’t training for the Treadmill Challenge, Evie is a physical therapist for Sapphire Physical Therapy and tending to her new dog, Mozz.