Registration for The Rut 50K opens Jan. 5

By Emily Wolfe Explore Big Sky Managing Editor

BIG SKY RESORT – In only its second year, The Rut 50K mountain run, an ultramarathon based at Big Sky Resort, has been chosen as the Skyrunner World Series Ultra Final for 2014.

The event last year drew a total of 400 runners for the 50k and 12k races, and this year will more than double in size, drawing between 800-1,000 runners, said Mike Foote, co-founder and race director with Mike Wolfe.

Set for Sept. 12-13, The Rut this year will also have a new event, the Vertical Kilometer, a Skyrunner-trademarked event that’s defined as a 1,000-meter climb in less than five kilometers, Foote said. The Rut’s version will take racers from the Mountain Village, up the Swift Current chairlift, Bonecrusher and Alto Ridge, directly to the summit of Lone Mountain.

Based in Italy, the International Federation for Skyrunning was founded in 2008 to promote, govern and administer the sport of skyrunning, or running at altitude. Its 2014 Skyrunner World Series includes 15 events in six countries, with venues including the Italian Dolomites, the Swiss and French Alps, the Canary Islands, and Utah’s Wasatch Mountains.

As the final event in the ISF Ultra Series, The Rut 50K will draw the world’s top mountain runners, all shooting for a piece of the cash purse – an amount that’s yet to be determined. Additionally, the Skyrunner World Series will have a cash purse totaling $25,000, and $10,500 of it will be divvied up among the overall men and women in the Ultra Division of the series.

“Skyrunning is all about high altitude, really rugged, visually stunning races, and Montana has that,” said Ian Sharman, organizer of the U.S. Skyrunner series. “The idea is to have races that are really inspiring for runners to [attend] and aspire to.”

The Rut is the largest athletic event hosted at Big Sky Resort, said Lyndsey Owens, marketing director for the resort. “We host many large conferences that have 400-750-plus, and we have had some large weddings as well, sometimes all at the same time, as when Obama visited we hosted the President and a wedding and a meeting group… but these events are very different than the Rut.”

The Rut 12K course will remain the same for 2014, Foote said, but the 50K will be more technical – hopefully, he said, with the addition of the Headwaters/A-Z Ridge.

“It’s cool to bring [this] to Montana,” Foote said. “I want the race to keep its same vibe but at the same time bring all these people to Big Sky and to Lone Peak.”

Registration for The Rut opens Jan. 5, 2014. Find more information at runtherut.com, skyrunning.com and bigskyresort.com.