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Alaskans flourish in brutal Run the Rut races in Montana mountains

  • Author: Doyle Woody
  • Updated: September 4, 2017
  • Published September 3, 2017

Scott Patterson's excellent mountain-running summer continued Sunday when he finished third in the wicked-hard 50-kilometer ultramarathon race at Run the Rut, a series of races at altitude in Montana and part of the International Skyrunner Federation's World Series.

The Anchorage runner's placing was one spot better than he seized in the 2016 race, and it came with a price in temperatures that reached about 90 as the top men finished and the top women were deep into the race. A depleted Patterson literally crawled across the finish line, and he and fifth-place finisher Chad Trammell of Anchorage occupied side-by-side gurneys in the post-race medical area.

"I think it was heat exhaustion," Patterson said by cellphone. "I spent about an hour in the medical tent post-race, getting a saline IV to get hydrated. I definitely left it all out there."

Meanwhile, Anna Dalton of Anchorage delivered a stirring debut at Run the Rut, finishing fourth in the women's 50K, which marked her first ultramarathon.

Patterson, 25, covered the 31-mile race, which featured 10,500 feet of ascent and descent, in 5 hours, 33 minutes, 9 seconds. The entire course near Big Sky Resort is above 7,000 feet and tops out at about 11,000 feet.

Patterson finished 23 minutes behind winner Luis Alberto Hernando of Spain (5:10:15), who conquered his debut in the U.S. Hernando, 39, owns elite  credentials. He's a two-time winner of the Trail World Championship and three times has won the Transvulcania Ultramarathon, once beating Kilian Jornet. Jornet, the Spaniard who is a former record-holder at Mount Marathon in Seward, has been considered the best mountain and trail runner in the world over the last decade, and over the weekend finished second at the Ultra Trail Du Mont-Blanc, a 100-miler in the Alps he has won three times.

Patterson, a nordic skier with designs on the 2018 Olympics, earlier this summer won Mount Marathon, the annual Fourth of July event that is the most prestigious running race in Alaska. He also captured wins at Government Peak and the Turnagain Arm Trail Run.

Patterson's third-place finish marked the third straight year an Alaskan has finished third in the Run the Rut 50K. Trammell earned third last year and Anchorage's Matt Shryock took third in 2015.

Sunday, Trammell, 33, finished fifth in 5:43:12. Just two weeks ago, Trammell won the TransRockies Run, a six-stage, 120-mile race in Colorado.

Shryock, 30, claimed ninth Sunday in 6:04:35. Also, Anchorage's Peter Mamrol, 24, finished 23rd in 6:50:32.

Dalton, 28, is best known as a marathoner and road runner, but Sunday made her mark on mountain trails. She clocked 6:43:01, which put her just 21 seconds from making the podium. The women's winner was Ragna Debats, 38, of Spain, who merely leads the World Series overall standings and won a 46K race last week in Switzerland.

Dalton in July generated a strong debut at Mount Marathon, where she finished ninth.

She said she was happy she followed through on some pre-race advice from Trammell, especially given the heat and altitude.

"I was super-conservative," Dalton said by cellphone. "I was talking to Chad the night before the race because he's done a lot of these, and he was like, 'You need to make it feel like a training run for the first 25 miles,' and that's what I did.' "

Dalton said she moved into third place late in the race, but fell back to fourth when her legs began cramping.

"My legs completely seized up on me and I had to stop and rub out a knot," Dalton said.

Patterson on Friday finished fourth in the vertical kilometer at Run the Rut, covering the three-mile race that climbed more than 3,600 feet in 51:18, about four minutes behind winner J.P. Donovan of Nevada.

Anchorage's Adam Jensen, 37, finished sixth in the vertical kilometer, and followed that with a 12th-place finish Saturday in the 28K race at Run the Rut. Those results all but duplicated Jensen's results in 2016, when he finished sixth in the vertical kilometer and 11th in the 28K.

In Friday's vertical kilometer race, Silas Talbot, 24, of Anchorage, who now lives in Bozeman, Montana, finished 10th. Eagle River's Christopher Kirk, 20, claimed 23rd.