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!  

Steve and Scott side by side climbing up Blue Mountain Road. Photo courtesy of Scott Samuels.


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.

A much colder, snowier day on Duncan. The 2018 Resolution Run. Photo by Vo-tography Images.

This week, Run Wild Missoula and The Runner’s Edge challenge you to run down Duncan Drive as fast as you can. Don’t be fooled, running downhill is not as easy as you might think!  You can’t say we didn’t warn you! You have between Monday, May 11th and Sunday, May 17th to head down Duncan.


1. Start at the cul-de-sac at the end of Duncan Drive.
2. Follow directions (listed below)

3. Run fast and have fun! (And please obey traffic laws)

4. Share a photo from the run on your Instagram/Facebook story or feed. Be sure to tag @runnersedgemt and @runwildmissoula and use the hashtags #MoreThanRun and #LaceEmUp to be featured!

*If you would like for us to repost your photo onto our Instagram Feed, make sure your account is public.  If you have a private account and would like us to repost your photo, send it via direct message on Facebook or Instagram.

Categories & Awards:

  • The fastest male & the fastest female as well as one participant chosen at random will receive $20 gift cards to Caffe Dolce.


Park at the cul-de-sac at the end of Duncan Drive. The segment begins at the
intersection of Duncan and Black Fox Trail.

Run down Duncan until you reach Lolo Street. This route is about 1.75 Miles. There are no turns – it is a straight shot down Duncan.

To return to your car you can either run back the same way you came down, run
through Peas Farm, or run up Rattlesnake Drive. Please note, running up the hill and
back to your car does not count as part of the challenge. 

Make sure you view the map to dial in the route before you head out. 

All participants in this challenge must practice proper social distancing. This includes running or walking alone (unless with those from your home), keeping a 6’ distance from all people you encounter along the way, and letting people know you are coming up behind them to give them time to step to the side of the path. Also, please avoid busier times of day by running or walking earlier or later in the day.

Questions? Email adam@runnersedgemt.com

Welcome to the final installment of the Quarantine Q&A. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors these past weeks you found some inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community. We certainly have enjoyed getting to learn from and share the stories of those who are adapting to a new way of life in these unprecedented times.

For our last Q&A we are excited to visit with the one and only Anders Brooker. As the owner of The Runner’s Edge, the Hellgate High School XC coach, and a steadfast Montana running community leader, Anders hardly needs an introduction. Like so many others, he and the Runner’s Edge family have had to pivot, adapt, and navigate uncharted waters these last couple of months. Read on to learn how he is working hard to continue adding value to his employees, athletes, and community during these challenging times.

Anders with his wife, Meg, and their baby, Will.

How many years ago did you open The Runner’s Edge?

We opened up in July 2001 on the weekend of the Sundae Run.  Sundae Run was put on Missoula Road and Track Club (now RWM) and used to be on the weekend that turned out later to be the Missoula Marathon weekend.  

As a small business owner, how has the COVID pandemic most significantly impacted your business?

Obviously we closed down and that had a huge impact on our day to day sales.  Lucky for us the Missoula community is so supportive, so we were able to fill some orders with in-town delivery and curbside pickup.  We have also had to postpone or cancel our spring and early summer events. We are hoping that Montana will be in a position we can host some of those events this fall. 

Can you share some ways you are getting creative in trying to engage with the running community and your customers?

One of the opportunities that came with the store being shut down and our events being either canceled or moved to the fall was being able to now look at other ways to interact with the running community.  We have tried to get creative by hosting weekly virtual events and things like the Quarantine Q&A.  

You are also the coach of the Hellgate High School Distance Runners. How have you navigated this time with your athletes as races and seasons have been canceled?

That has been one of the more challenging parts of this for me personally.  I love to coach and am heartbroken for the seniors who have worked so hard and now won’t be able to finish their last track season.  In the end, missing one season might feel small in the grand scheme of things, but I know the effort and dedication these kids put in year-round.  We can’t have physical contact with kids, but we are finding other ways to engage through Zoom meetings, virtual strength training, and helping guide them through this uncertain time.  I miss our kids and coaches.  

Have you taken a moment to get out for a run yourself during these uncertain times?

I usually get out 4-5 days a week.  In the last couple of weeks, we have gone to my parent’s house and ran the 11 Miles to Paradise trail.  It has been a great way to get out of town and find a quiet trail.  I am trying to at least be in good enough shape to run with the high school kids as we can start meeting again. 🙂 

Are there ways you are investing in your mental health right now?

Spring is usually the busiest time for me, between the shop, events, and coaching, so it feels weird to have a few weekends off.  Like I mentioned before, getting out of town and that has been really refreshing. 

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced in the last couple of weeks you would like to share?

Of course.  It has been hard, but I have tried to look at the opportunity of this time we are all in.  We have made some nice changes inside the shop that we wouldn’t have been able to make if it wasn’t closed down.  We have also learned other ways we can serve our customers like in-town delivery and I could see us continuing some of those moving forward. It has also given us reason to communicate with other running stores around the country and learn from them.  I am also trying to take the time away from practice to grow as a coach and getting through some books and podcasts that have been on the list for a while. 

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

Oh man… inspiration is coming from everywhere right now.  At home Meg and Will are my number one motivators, we are having some much fun watching Will change each day.  Whether it is working on our events or in the shop, we have some amazing co-workers who are trying to be creative and help us make the right decisions.  In my coaching life seeing the engagement and excitement of our other coaches is awesome and watching these kids stay motivated even with their season is canceled is so inspiring.  My parents have supported everything I been part of it and some crazy decisions I have made. They continue to do that. 

I am just so lucky to have all these people in my life. 

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing?

Thank god for Zoom.  Lucky for me, I see a lot of people in my life either on the computer screen, at home or at work.

Do you have a favorite place to run in Missoula?

That is an easy answer for me.  I love that trail at the end of Duncan that runs behind “JB’s property” and up to the Rattlesnake corridor.  A lot of folks in the running community know JB and he was nice enough let to Meg and I get married on his property.  So not only is the trail nice, but it is a special place for us. 

If I am leaving town, I would pick the 11 Miles to Paradise trail.  I grew up running that trail with my dad and high school teammates.  It is one of the places I fell in love with running. 

What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

The Runner’s Edge mission is “to enhance lives through building community, developing relationships, and having fun.”  We love the products we carry and think they make the running, walking, and fitness experience more enjoyable, but we are in business because of our community and the relationship we have built.  Every time we talk to other stores around the country, it just reminds us how lucky we are to have a community like this one. 

I can’t tell you how many people have reached out or made purchases during this time just to make a point to support us.  We are so grateful to live and work in Missoula.

The Runner’s Edge Team last year in Seattle.


A big thank you to Anders for sharing with us and for all he does for our community! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider sending this article to them.

Well, that’s a wrap for the quarantine Q&A. We hope it brought value to you in one way or the other the last 5 weeks. If there are other ways you would like to see us out in the community, e-mail Mike@runnersedgemt.com and let us know!

This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!

Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, teachers, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. 

This week we catch up with Emily Walters. Emily is a mom, a poet, an avid skier, a lover of food, and is currently racking up vert running and hiking on the trails all around Missoula. Read on to learn how she is finding joy and spreading positivity in our community during these uncertain times. Also, as a major bonus, Emily shares some of her poetry with us. Please enjoy!

Emily with her husband, Jeff and their daughter, Nina


First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?

I’ve lived in Missoula for 12 years.

Are you training for an upcoming race? If so, has it been canceled or postponed? If so, have you set any new goals?

Yes, I have been training for the Bighorn 50k which was recently cancelled. I have a spread sheet (my first year keeping track) of vertical gain, so I’ll focus on vert goals. I’ll keep running but add in more biking too.

What are you doing to maintain motivation and stay active right now?

Having an active 3 1/2 year old is the best kind of trainer, there aren’t any off days with that kind of energy, it is raw motivation. Since the Bighorn was going to be in June, I needed to build a solid base so I have been mostly running. A lot of zone one hikes with our daughter, with moments of sprints she likes to throw in.

How are you investing in your mental health right now?

I haven’t ever really thought of myself as a runner, as much as someone who really values the meditative quality running longer distances can offer. I’ve valued running as an act of mental health even more so lately. Sure, it’s exercise, but really it’s a daily outlet for sustained quiet. It’s also been an activity that feels “normal” while so much around us feels abnormal. Out running, it’s an opportunity to connect with yourself, the mountains, wildflowers, changes in light and check in with your internal barometer.

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced in the last couple of weeks you would like to share?

Yes, I’ve had a “COVID-running buddy” Sarah Raz, who has been a great friend and running companion for years, but especially during the past few months. We’ve crossed this valley up and down in snow, sleet, sun, sadness and joy. Our weekly runs together have been so meaningful to me right now, a rare opportunity to run hard together, we cheer each other on, shout out, “nice work blondie” and laugh. Running can be a lot of hours clocked alone, but with Sarah, we push each other and hold each other up even when we cannot hug or high-five.

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

Reading Station Eleven, listening to On Being’s poetry podcasts, cooking, writing, drawing wildflowers and rainbows with our daughter, working in the garden, mowing the yard. I really find inspiration being outside.

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing?

I’m a funny kind of introvert in that I thought I would thrive in social isolation, but turns out, I really miss interacting with people, “live”. Sure, it’s great to have technology to connect, but it feels clumsy for organic conversation. I really miss random conversations, comedic quips said for lightness and ease.

Do you have a favorite place to run in Missoula?

The North Hills have become my favorite because I can run from our house. But nothing beats a great loop up Jumbo and Sentinel or variation on the loop theme.

What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

Missoula now more than ever feels like a place where people cheer each other on even if they don’t really know you. You could be out and about running at dawn and you’ll see someone you might just slightly know zoom by and you both smile. Exchange that joy in seeing someone do what they love to do too. Running feels like a place of normalcy now more than ever, Missoula feels like it’s still cheering. At least the wildflowers are cheering for sure.

Anything you would like to say to our community during this moment?

Keep saying hi, keep smiling, keep being smart while out and about on the trails. Sure, we have to be six feet apart, but nothing means more to a person than a gesture of positivity. You never know what that person might be processing, give them a sense of being seen.

You recently participated in a challenge in April, which is National Poetry Month, to write a sonnet a day. That’s so cool. Would you be open to sharing one with us?

Yes, I didn’t ever think I’d write about running, but I write a lot while I am running. I call my longer days, rough drafts, because it’s where I have more time to really “write” while I run.

Above The Life I Live In

People say you should run your own race,
but I haven’t been able to figure out a strategy
for myself other than running for hours outside,
high above the life I live in. Crest along rocks,
ravines and spend most of my day with ravens
in the alpine, moments when I forget I have feet,
just the simple moment of breath meeting breath
and me as a body between. I never feel like a failure
when I move my body up a mountain, never ask
myself what have I done with my one beautiful day
given. Nor ask what have I given back to this world
when I am quiet with it. I’ve asked clouds the hardest
of questions, fully knowing they didn’t need to answer

back. Know they trust me. And with them, I’m enough.

A big thank you to Emily for sharing her poetry and stories with us! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.

This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!