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La Sportiva Mountain Cup

Jim Walmsley, Megan Roche Win Don’t Fence Me In 30K

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The two runners continued stellar seasons at the third race of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup


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Jim Walmsley after winning the Don’t Fence Me In 30K this weekend. Photo by Quinn Carrasco

The La Sportiva Mountain Cup had its third race this weekend in Helena, Montana. The Don’t Fence Me In 30K is a tough course with four grueling climbs over 19 miles of technical trail.

The race runs through the plentiful open space that contains over 65 miles of trail accessible from town, cultivated and cared for by the Prickly Pear Land Trust. At the end of the 30K, the first person to cross the finish line was Flagstaff, Arizona, resident Jim Walsmley with a speedy time of 2:08:18. The course had been updated this year, so while it is not an official course record, Walsmley was only 25 seconds off of Rob Krar’s 2012 record.

Walmsley has a long history with the Helena Trails. His first trail race was the Don’t Fence Me In 12K in 2013. The year after, he won the 30K and is back at it again this year to claim his spot on the podium. With big wins this year at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (in a new course record), the Mesquite Canyon 50K, Moab’s Red Hot 55K and the Bandera 100K, people are saying that 2016 is his year.

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They’re off! Photo by Quinn Carrasco

Coming in over 11 minutes after Walsmley, David Roche took second place on what he calls “the most beautiful course.” With lots of open lines on the course, there’s plenty of visibility to see when runners are coming up from behind and to dread the peaks that are coming up.

Roche, who won the opening Mountain Cup race this year in California, the Marin Ultra Challenge, says it was “great to stay on Jim Walmsley for the first five miles.” But when Walmsley pushed past him on a 20-percent grade, there was little he could do. Roche, who’s been around to a few races, says he “hasn’t seen someone put out that much power on a course.”

Coming in soon after Roche was Mike Foote of Missoula, Montana, with a time of 2:26:40.

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The course passes through the hills around Helena, Montana. Photo by Quinn Carrasco

In the female field, Megan Roche (David’s better half) dominated the course and finished in 2:40:24. After arriving in Helena around midnight the night before, she says she “woke up early and gave it a go.” Currently in medical school, she had only one day to be in Helena, but says she wouldn’t miss it: “It’s one of my favorite races. The whole town comes out for the race.”

In second for the women was Montana local Amy Friedman with a time of 2:51:07. She loves the trails in Helena, which she’s been “running since she was 6, with braided pigtails in her hair.” In third place, with a time of 2:56:42, was Marilee Woyth of Great Falls, Montana.

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The podium finishers, from left: David Roche (2nd), Megan Roche (1st), Marilee Woyth (3rd), Jim Walmsley (1st), Amy Friedman (2nd), Mike Foote (3rd). Photo by Quinn Carrasco

The La Sportiva Mountain Cup will head to Woodstock, Georgia, for the Rope Mill Trail Run on June 11—another chance to qualify for this year’s championship race, the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase in Utah, and its $10,000 prize purse!

Trail Runner is a media partner of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Follow La Sportiva on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get all the Mountain Cup updates. Another huge thank you to Mountain Cup partners Farm to Feet and Clif Bar!