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The Rut 50K, which will be held this weekend at the Big Sky Resort, Montana, starts at 7,500 feet, tops out above 11,000, gains a total of 10,500 feet, has a course that is 15 percent off trail and includes descents that are loose, steep and sketchy enough to warrant fixed ropes.
Of course, it’s not just the epic course that has made this four-year-old event an emerging classic. Race co-creators Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe (also known as “the Montana Mikes”) strive for a quirky, festive atmosphere complete with cowbells and an elk bugle as a starter’s horn. There’s a reason we called The Rut a “badass Montana race with a little European mountain-running flair” back in 2014.
To get a real sense of what The Rut is about, check out these two short films from 2014. The first follows the race directors before that year’s race, as they scout and mark the course (making it even harder than the previous year’s):
And the second focuses on the experience of the race itself: