Runners ascend the steep northwest ridge of Mt. Sentinel. Photo: Seth Orme

Participants were met with temps pushing the 70s and loads of sunshine for the 2021 Mt. Sentinel Hill Climb. Rolling starts helped to spread people out, as racers left the M trailhead anytime between 5pm and 6:30pm. After collecting themselves at the top from a big effort up Sentinel, people migrated downhill to enjoy a mug full of Big Dipper ice cream. Thanks to all that came out and made it a special day running trails in Missoula! And a special thanks to the volunteers out doing trail work on the M Trail!

Special congrats to Kris Brown and Katrina Miller on getting engaged at the M on their warm-down after the race!

Women’s Race

Erin Clark running to victory. Photo: Seth Orme

There was a lot of speculation prior to the race of what would happen between Hoka ONE ONE trail runner Erin Clark and perennial master’s champion Nicole Murray. Murray came into this race with 6 of the 10 fastest times ever posted on the hill climb route, with a personal best of 24:46, and a win at the 2019 event and 2020 Treadmill Challenge. Clark came to the hill climb as an 11-time Division I All American and former pro track runner who is seeing tremendous success in longer trail races. But could she handle the steep grade and rocky trail on Sentinel?

Out of the gate, there was a surprise with Michelle Hiland nabbing the $50 M premium in 7 minutes and 40 seconds (the fastest women’s time to the M on Strava). As the trail steepened, Hiland faded back and passed the lead off to Clark, with Murray in hot pursuit. Clark hammered the ridge, working hard to hold off a charging Murray. Clark took the win in a speedy 25:32, the 7th fastest women’s time ever posted on the Hill Climb route. Clark never breathed easy, as Murray made it to the summit a mere 8 seconds behind Clark in 25:40. Hiland finished third in 27:13.

Top 5 Women:

  1. Erin Clark (Hoka ONE ONE) – 25:32.97
  2. Nicole Murray – 25:40.93
  3. Michelle Hiland – 27:13.51
  4. Heather Brooks (La Sportiva) – 28:33.95
  5. Katy Robin-Garten – 28:58.41

Men’s Race – New Record!

Adam Peterman, trail runner for Hoka ONE ONE and Hill Climb Race Director, came into this race as the clear favorite. Peterman boasted the fastest known time on the Hill Climb route in 18:39 from 2019. But professional and Olympic mountain biker Howard Grotts ran the Sentinel ridge in 19:50 last week. Could Grotts take down Peterman come race day? This question hung in the air as the gun went off and the most stacked field in Sentinel Hill Climb history charged up the M trail.

Adam Peterman on his way to a new fastest known time and course record. Photo: Seth Orme

Former North Dakota State track athlete Grady Anderson led most of the climb up the M in a Hail Mary attempt at snatching the $50 M premium. But Peterman didn’t yield, and blazed by him to grab the premium in 6:05 (second fastest M Trail climb only to Grotts’ 6:04 from earlier this month). Peterman stormed ahead, growing the gap between himself, Grotts, and the rest of the field. Running every single step of the way, Peterman crossed the line in 18:31, an astonishing new course record and fastest known time. Grotts was second place in 19:25. It should be noted that Grotts’ time is the fastest ever run outside of Peterman’s former record. Rounding out the top 3 was Peterman’s fellow Hoka ONE ONE teammate Kris Brown in 20:35.

This was the most competitive men’s field ever assembled for the Sentinel Hill Climb. Thirteen men ran under 24 minutes. The top 5 were all well under 22 minutes.

Top 5 Men:

  1. Adam Peterman (Hoka ONE ONE) – 18:31.26
  2. Howard Grotts (Specialized) – 19:25.72
  3. Kris Brown (Hoka ONE ONE) – 20:35.44
  4. Jeff Mogavero – 21:10.13
  5. Monte Cole – 21:40.98

Results and History

Full results for the 2021 event, as well as all former Hill Climbs, are available at Competitive Timing’s website here.

Photos by Seth Orme will be available soon. Stay tuned!

Top 10 women’s and men’s times were compiled by Tim Mosbacher in this 2019 post for the Montana Trail crew: http://www.montanatrailcrew.com/2019/05/tims-lists-mount-sentinel-hill-climb.html

Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible! We had Sapphire Physical Therapy‘s own John Fiore out marking the course, Kiefer and Rhea of Momentum Athletic Training handing out the cash premiums, Altra Running at the base with demo shoes, Hammer Nutrition during the race, and Big Dipper Ice Cream after.

All smiles at the Mt Sentinel Hill Climb! Photo: Seth Orme

Runners on their way up the northwest ridge of Sentinel. Photo: Seth Orme

Frozen Feet 2021
January 1st – 31st

Congrats! We had a group of 714 participants that logged over 40,000 miles in this year’s Frozen Feet Challenge! This means we almost went around the world twice – impressive!

For those of you who purchased a Frozen Feet t-shirt, the tees are available for pickup in the RE’s basement during the month of February. There will be a clipboard with your name and shirt size you requested – please check your name off the list and choose the size shirt you ordered. Just a reminder, the shirts are unisex.
Once again, CONGRATS on your achievement! You guys ROCK!

Questions? Please contact Ashley (ashleym@runnersedgemt.com).

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.