Runner’s Edge is excited to announce our newest event, Running Up For Air (RUFA) Mt. Sentinel! As part of the Up For Air Series, RUFA Mt. Sentinel is a 3, 6, or 12 hour winter endurance challenge on Mt. Sentinel (5,158’ elevation), the iconic mountain on the edge of Missoula.
Missoulians are lucky enough to have some of the best access to trails and wild places in the country. However, our beautiful valley is often plagued by poor air quality – both wildfire smoke in the summer and wintertime inversions. Participants will ascend Mt. Sentinel and attempt to summit the mountain as many times as possible to raise awareness and money to address air quality issues affecting our valley and home. Participants are encouraged to gather pledges for each lap completed up the mountain. All proceeds from this event go to Climate Smart Missoula and their efforts to improve air quality for all Montanans.
The Up For Air Series is a collection of endurance events created to amplify informed dialogue and empower organizations actively working on air quality solutions. Proceeds from Up For Air events are directed at carefully selected non-profit groups who demonstrate high value influence strategies. The race platform is used to expose participants and the general public to science-based material about the importance of healthy air. All events are conducted with a minimal footprint philosophy.
Climate Smart Missoula
Climate Smart Missoula is a local non-profit organization working to catalyze efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and build a resilient and equitable Missoula. Since launching in 2015, they have grown their signature “Summer Smart” initiative to help Missoula and the surrounding region better respond to changing conditions, particularly wildfire smoke and extreme heat. Climate Smart continues to grow efforts to educate people about the risks of wildfire smoke & unhealthy air and how to stay healthy. A key component of this encourages the indoor use of HEPA Portable Air Cleaners, and via donated funds, they provide these free of charge to those most in need. The best time to begin to prepare for summer smoke is in the winter! More at missoulaclimate.org.
- 12 hr – $100
- 6 hr – $80
- 3 hr – $60
Each registration will create a fundraising page to collect pledges from friends and family.
Complete as many laps on Mt. Sentinel as possible! Whether it’s one lap or a five, test yourself and have a blast on Missoula’s favorite mountain and most popular trail while taking a stand in the fight for improved air quality.
Friday, February 11th
- 12:00pm – 6:00pm, packet pickup in Runner’s Edge basement (12hr runners MUST pickup packet on Friday)
Saturday, February 12th
- 6:00am – 12 hr start (MUST pickup packet on Friday)
- 12:00pm – 6 hr start (packet pickup available 1hr before start)
- 3:00pm – 3 hr start (packet pickup available 1hr before start)
- 6:00pm – All races finish, post-race food
- 6:15pm – Awards
The race begins at the M-Trail parking lot and climbs the switchbacks to the M. The route then climbed the steep Northwest Ridge Trail to the Sentinel summits (note: this is a change from 2020, when the course was an out/back up the M Trail and Boy Scout Trail). A small aid station awaits on top. Head over the summit and descend back down to the base area on the Boy Scout Trail, then the M Trail. While only 4 miles long, each lap on this classic route has ~1,900’ of elevation gain. Repeat this route as many times as possible or until you Refuse To Continue (RTC). The time of year (February!) is intentional as it coincides with reduced winter air pollution but is safely before the summer fire season.
***Given the time of year the route is very likely to be either muddy, icy, entirely snow-covered, or a combination of these conditions. As a result, traction devices (such as Kahtoola Microspikes) will be required and staying on-trail at all times will be mandatory.***
Because the M Trail receives so much use, erosion is a constant management issue. The Friends of the M Trail asks all hikers and runners to stay on well-established trails. To support the maintenance of the Mt. Sentinel trail system, consider a donation to the Friends of the M Trail here.
There will be a very small aid station atop Mt. Sentinel to provide brief relief for participants. Expect some light aid station fare, hot drinks, and hot soup/broth. At the start/finish area there will be a large heated tent with a fully-stocked aid station. There will be an area to leave a drop bag with extra layers. Please bring a reusable cup/mug/plate/bowl to help us reduce our trash waste!
Base Area Aid Station Fare:
- Electrolyte drink
- Gummy Bears
- Trail Mix
- Other solid food rotated throughout the day
RUFA Mt. Sentinel is a cupless event! Please plan on bringing a bottle, cup, and/or mug for use at the base area (we’ll have coffee, cocoa, broth, soup, water, etc.). We will have compostable bowls and spoons, but bringing your own is STRONGLY encouraged. Thank you for your understanding. For more information, click here.
Location & Parking
We strongly encourage all participants and volunteers to carpool, walk, or bike to the event! There will be parking at the M Trail trailhead for all volunteers and participants.