The 6th Annual Wulfman’s CDT-14K Trail Race is in the books; and, once again Butte’s Piss & Moan Runners put on an exceptional event. This year saw saw the 3rd running of the northbound direction between Pipestone and Homestake Passes. With the combination of altitude, hills and semi-technical terrain, the course is no cake-walk; but, course records and personal observation would suggest that it’s still a bit faster than the southbound direction. And, in the 2011 northbound edition of this course, ideal weather conditions saw some screaming fast times.
But, Mother Nature
decided to play a little trick on the field this year. Conditions at the start seemed good - cool
(around 6° C) and dry with a very mild breeze.
But, about 10 to 15 minutes into the race and the first drops began to
fall. By 20 minutes it was full-out
miserable. The course wound up into the
clouds and then the skies dropped a consistent mixture of rain, grapple and
sleet. The rain didn’t relent; and, in
the end, it was reminiscent of the crazy wetness at the 2009 edition. The course got a bit sloppy, the wetness lent
a chill to the air, and the race times slowed accordingly.
However, being a
single track trail all the way – the race start has to be adjusted to
accommodate the 240-person field. Based
on predicted times and consideration by the race director (Ray Hunt), the
runners are seeded to go out on the course in 10-second intervals. With the faster runner’s going out first,
this allows all of the runner’s great access to the trail with very little
needs for passing or other potential conflicts.
On the men’s side,
Jimmy Grant of Missoula (as defending champion) was first out of the gate and
it was pretty much game over within the first 3 to 4 kilometers. After hitting the uphill switchbacks after 3K,
Jimmy reported that the course behind him seemed clear and he was truly in a
time trial situation. He seemed to be on
4:00 per kilometer pace through about 6K; but, reported that he was a bit
sluggish during the wet middle section.
He got back on track over the last 4K; but, by then the hope of the
magic sub-56:00 was gone. In the end, he
had to settle for a win over 2 minutes+ with a time of 56:47 – which is still
the #4 time for the S-N course.
With wins already
this year in the 11-Miles to Paradise and the Pengelly Double Dip, Jimmy showed
that he’s got trail skills to match his road chops. He reports that he’s been spending quite a
bit of trail training time with the Missoula ultra-trail group of Mike Wolfe,
Mike Foote, Chris Kollar and Jason Schlarb – and, it’s really improved his
off-road abilities. His big goal for the
year – the Bridger Ridge Run. With the
way that he’s been performing this year, it will be very exciting to see how he
does on one of Montana’s most challenging and historic trail races.
Having run every
edition of this race, Butte native Josh Panasuk has some unmatched knowledge of
the trail. And, having now moved on to
college at MSU-Billings, he’s also gained some newfound running skills and strength. He put all of this skill, endurance and
knowledge to use today as he pulled off 2nd place overall – for his
first podium and sub-1 hour finish. The
next position went to someone else with some good history at this race – Dillon’s
Mike Telling. Heading the over-40 crew
and almost all the rest of the field, Mike had a great race with his
A surprise, late
entrant (taking advantage of a Thursday night cancellation), Casey Jermyn
showed that he can still motor along. An
alum of Montana State University and a Big Sky Conference champion in track and
cross-country – Casey secured the 4th spot with his 1:01:57. Ever so close behind Casey was another
over-40 athlete – Jeff Braun of Butte.
Doing his best to stay in contact with Mike Telling, Jeff got pulled
along to a solid 1:01:58 to round out the overall top 5.
The women’s race
saw some excitement and some drama.
Defending champion and course record holder Nicole Hunt was the first
woman to hit the trail. And, early on
she looked like she was ready to hit it as hard as ever. But, unbeknownst to most everyone else,
Nicole has a nagging calf injury that had recently caused her to take 2-weeks
off from running. At about 15:00 into
the run, she could feel it tightening; and, by mid-race she knew it was
serious. But, she gutted it out and
hoped that her time at the finish was enough to hold on for the win.
High School graduate Olivia Wood started exactly 3:00 behind Nicole – so, she
had no idea of Nicole’s struggles with the calf. Now, Olivia has run this event every year
save the inaugural edition. So, she’s no
stranger as to what the course is going to throw at her. Pushing through the rain, she showed that she’s
ready to take on the collegiate level as she enters Carroll College this fall
as part of the Fighting Saints XC and Track teams. She also showed why she was an All-State track
and XC runner for the Copperheads; because, in the end, her elapsed time was 6
seconds faster than Nicole – 68:34 to 68:40.
And, that gave the win to Olivia.
place went to former MSU-Billings standout Lisa Minnehan at 73:09. And, the top 5 was rounded out by Bailey Roberts
of Bozeman in 73:25 and Livingston’s Becky Stieb Speidel in 74:04.
categories were focused this year on the age-graded competition; and, solid
competition it was. For the women,
Nicole took the Master’s overall and Age-Graded titles. At 43, her 68:40 gun time converted to
64:48. Both were new northbound course
records; and, resulted in a $75 bonus for the sub-65:00 age-graded premium
time. Taking 2nd in the A-G
results was 69-year old Anne Trygstad of Bozeman. Finishing in 98:25 (for 17th women’s
master), her A-G conversion brought her down to 65:42 – a fantastic
effort. The rest of the top 5 A-G went
to Lori Buratto of Spokane (42) with an A-G time of 71:08; Dillon’s Betty
Iverson (55) in 73:15; and, Kelli Sullivan of Butte (55) in 74:46.
For the men – Jeff
Braun and Mike Telling swapped their positions from the overall and the men’s
master race. With his 61:58 gun time,
Braun at 49 saw an A-G conversion all the way down to 54:54. That missed Scott Creel’s mind-boggling 2011
record of 51:23; but, was till quick enough to score a $75 premium bonus. Meanwhile, Telling’s (44) 60:56 converted to
56:12. Suddenly, Jeff is thinking that
those extra 5-years of chronological age ain’t all bad J The rest of the A-G top 5 went to: Kyle Klickir of Phillipsburg (56) in 57:27; Three
Fork’s Kirk Keller (54) in 58:13; and, Ray Hunt of Deer Lodge (47) in
58:25. In all, there were 7 men who had
age-graded times of under 1:00 – a shining example of the strength of the
master’s runners at this event.
The wet weather
and chilly weather tried to put a damper on the event; but, the runner’s would
have none of that. Eating some great,
healthy food at the post-race spread (hosted by the spectacular Homestake Lodge)
and enjoying some fine beverages courtesy of Quarry Brewing, the runners had a
great celebration of the summer solstice.
With great organization, a great trail, fantastic awards and a top-notch
post race picnic – it’s no wonder that this is becoming a “must do” event on
the Montana racing circuit. And, no
wonder that the event’s 240 slots were filled by mid-February this year!!!!! And, in spite of the weather conditions - the race had an all time record number of finishers with 223 - WOOP, WOOP!!
As I’ve said before,
John “The Wulfman” Wulf would have been pleased to see all his people having
such a great time out along the backbone of the continent.
A full complement
of race results (cumulative, male, female, age group, age graded, etc.) can be
found at http://www.buttespissandmoanrunners.com/Butte%20Races/CDT-14K/results.htm. A good selection of race comments (and photos
coming soon) can be found on the Wulfman’s CDT 14K Trail Race Facebook
page. Make sure to check them out.
See you on the
roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard