Pair of race victories propel Grace Staberg to overall Run the Rut trifecta win
Silverthorne runner, ski mountaineer wins vertical climb, 28K races; takes eighth in 50K
Grace Staberg, of Silverthorne, won two of three races at this past weekend’s Run the Rut mountain runs in Big Sky, Montana, to take the overall trifecta victory.
Staberg won the Friday, Sept. 3, super-steep Lone Peak Vertical Kilometer race — a 3,632-foot climb over 2.85 miles to the finish line at 11,166 feet — with a time of 55 minutes and 17.3 seconds. Staberg followed up the vertical climb win with a winning time of 3:58:38 in the 28-kilometer race on Saturday, Sept. 4. The 28K featured a total of 7,800 feet of elevation gain, including the totality of the ascent up Lone Peak from the day prior.
Then, on Sunday, Sept. 5, Staberg ran to eighth place in the 50-kilometer race that itself had 10,500 feet of elevation gain.
“It just seemed like if they were all offered it would be fun to do them all,” Staberg said of the racing triple crown. “Going out to Montana for the weekend, we did go all the way out there, and I felt like I might as well take advantage of that.”
Staberg said she was most focused on Friday’s vertical kilometer race because of her love of climbing mountainsides. The U.S. Ski Mountaineer, Staberg won Friday’s race by more than five minutes ahead of Marilee Woyth, 34, of Great Falls, Montana, who came in with a time of 1:01:05.72, while Breckenridge local Kelly Ahern, 37, rounded out the top-3 in 1:02:00.88.
Come Saturday, Staberg said at the start of the 28K she realized she was in contention to win.
“I definitely went into race mode,” Staberg said of the 28K, which she said she’d recommend as the top race of the three to prospective racers.
“That course had all of the climbing, ridge lines, and it had all the really fun, high-alpine terrain of the 50K,” Staberg said.
Staberg said the 28K featured two technical ridge-line climbs: Headwaters and Long Peak. She said each consisted of more than 3,000 feet of climbing.
“There’s dinner-plate-sized rocks, so you slow down a little bit to not trip left and right,” she said.
Staberg held on for the win just under a minute ahead of Bailey Kowalczyk, 25, of Nederland (3:26:43), thanks to the margin Staberg picked up on the final steep 1,000-foot climb within 1.5 miles of the finish line.
“If I had to pick a race as most competitive, I would say the 28K,” Staberg said. “Sunday I was pretty tired, and I ended up feeling pretty sick during the race, so I wanted to enjoy the scenery more on the last day of racing. I wanted to make it to the finish, and I was happy with eighth. It was good enough to get the overall win in the trifecta.”
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