A world-class race for a world-class course.

Big Sky Resort has announced that it will hold the second annual The Rut 50K and 12K races, and the Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer race on Sept. 13 as part of the 2014 Skyrunner World Series.

The brainchild of Missoula-based race directors and world-class runners Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe, The Rut is a test of endurance and agility, paired with beautiful views.

“We had traveled all over Europe and South America. We were really inspired by the courses we had the opportunity to run, and wanted to bring back some of that ethos to the U.S. and Montana,” Foote said Monday. “We found Big Sky to be the perfect match.”

The Rut 50k ultramarathon, with 10,000 feet of elevation gain, pushes runners with steep sections of ridgeline, forested singletrack trails, rugged jeep roads and the summit of Lone Peak.

“The runners have to be engaged because of how dynamic the course is,” Foote said. “There are steep descents, ascents, loose rock and rocky footing.”

The 12K is a less dramatic race, but still gives runners a chance to experience the beauty of the course, Foote said.

When it debuted last year, The Rut sold out both the 50K and 12K races, with 400 runners. This year, 1,000 runners can register.

Big Sky Resort is the first in the U.S. to host both the final ultramarathon and the Vertical Kilometer in the Skyrunner World Series.

The best mountain runners from around the world are expected to be there, and the races will be memorable for spectators and runners alike, Foote said.

“It’s important that while you’re training, you find terrain similar to race conditions,” he said. “Find something rocky, and steep.“

Race registration opens Sunday at 8 a.m. at runtherut.com.

Dylan Chaffin is a journalism major at the University of Montana and a reporting intern for the Missoulian.

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