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Conquering The Rut, 2014

An epic, new challenge draws world-class athletes to southwestern Montana

By Mike Hahn

Lone Peak looms large over Big Sky Resort, home of the 2014 Rut 50K. Steep, exposed climbs and off-trail descents on loose talus make this an intimidating piece of rock. On September 12 and 13, athletes and fans assembled at the base of barren Lone Peak for an endurance experience unlike any other.

As the final race in the 2014 Skyrunner® World Series, The Rut drew top talent and international media attention. Securing the designation was a feat in itself for Montana race directors Mike Foote and Mike Wolfe, especially given the fact that The Rut is only in its second year.

Early Saturday morning, a headlamp start in the cool morning air sent runners uphill for a morning of forested single track, alpine ridge lines, and the storied summit of Lone Peak. In the end, Spanish phenom Kilian Jornet stood atop the men's podium, with teammate Emelie Forsberg placing 1st among the women.

Hammer athletes power through

Hammer Nutrition athletes rose to the day's steep challenge, with Hillary Allen and Kristina Pattison finishing in 5th and 6th places, respectively. Allen clearly had her fueling dialed. "When I reached the last aid station, I knew I was ready to gun it," she said. "I finished beaming . . . and was super-pleased with my race." Pattison seconded, "Thanks to Hammer Nutrition for keeping me fueled. Endurloytes Extreme is one of my favorite new products!"

Meanwhile, ultrarunner Jimmy Grant struggled to overcome the effects of a recent illness. For the first 15 miles he trailed only the most aggressive front runners, but by the time he reached the first ridge, he knew this wouldn't be his day. The fatigue from being sick had caught up with him.

"A friend convinced me to push on," said Jimmy. "Endurolytes, Perpetuem, and nearly a dozen Hammer Gels fueled me to the finish . . . Even though I wasn't truly racing anymore, I experienced a beautiful day in the mountains, received the support of countless friends, and finished the Rut 50K - an accomplishment in itself since only about half of all starters made it across the line. Another ultramarathon in the books, and my DNF count remains at zero."

For Hammer sponsored skier-mountaineer David Steele, The Rut's vertical kilometer was a case of familiar terrain under very different conditions. "I was moving up a mountain with my trekking poles early in the morning but instead of carrying a day pack, I had a number pinned to my shorts," he said. "The camaraderie of the participants completely negated the fact that we hadn't met previously; that's how I came to climb the last half mile with a guy in a Superman costume."

David fueled with new Peanut Butter-Chocolate Hammer Gel and .75L of water. "With no aid stations along the VK course, it seemed smart to bring some liquid, and I was happy I did. The cold, dry morning air and elevation tore up my throat, making the gels and water taste and feel great on the way up."

Congratulations to all who participated in the 2014 Rut 50K, Vertical Kilometer, and 12K events. Hammer Nutrition was proud to sponsor this unique event, providing quality endurance fuels on the course to weekend warriors and world-class mountain runners alike. HN