Bitterroot Runoff Race Report – Michael Adams

Race: Bitterroot Runoff

Runner: Michael Adams

Race Date: 04/16/2022

Location: Lolo Montana


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3 Bests – What aspects of the race did you like the most?

  • The overall organization of the race. It’s very well put together by people who are also runners; and want you to have a good race experience all the way to the end! Tilting to the environmentally friendly type of race. Bring your own cups and recycle what you can – they have appropriate bins for this as well.
  • Like race vendors? Like food and refreshments at the end of the race?! Like a fire on a relatively cold day but not too cold to race in? You’ll find it here!
  • Almost forgot there are massages!

Not so much – Aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you

The only things I don’t like about the race day is more personal issues, old injuries coming up that sort of thing. I don’t have problems with the race or how its organized. I like trail races though, definitely more that road so I’m biased.

Weird factor – What’s the weirdest thing about this race?

The weather. From year to year it has not been the same. Last year (2021) it was snowing/raining at the top which made for a very chilly experience. This year it was just a little breezy but only started to rain/snow just as the award ceremony was wrapping up. Few years ago it was good weather the whole day.

Highlights of your race – What did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular?

I like the amount of prep I did for this race. Helped me power through the beginning 4.7ish miles of uphill then its that roller-coaster like single track till the end.

Lessons for others – Share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner

Get proficient at running uphill. Its not the longest race, but plenty of vertical. Enough to make you rethink your training for this run. Its a relentless first half. While your catching your breath down hill for the first time, remember once you reach the 2nd aid station then the majority of hill climbing is done. Still some during the last couple miles but negligible (although it might not feel that way). There is one stretch closer to the end that is a gradual uphill, but a gradual uphill and the tail end of the 8 miles and ~1800 feet of running up to that point can be more challenging that you might like.

Lessons you learned that will help you next time around

You haven’t done enough hill climbing for this race. That should be your mind during training.

Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race

Cupless race. Hills. If you want some of the awesome go-go juice or water then bring a collapsible cup.

Aesthetics – Is it a pretty course?

Its in the Lolo national forest! If your not too busy trying not to fall over rocks or roots you can see around for miles at a couple points! If your like most trail runners you live for those glimpses of beauty.

Difficulty – Is it a tough course?

Moderate-Hard course. Ill say it again the first 4.7ish miles is uphill. Its not pikes peak, but you should have practice on you hill climbing.

Organized and well run – Did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?

Definitely a well oiled machine. Since this one guy, might be a name you recognize, Adam Peterman, started helping out with this even its gotten a little better I’d say.

Photo: The Runners Edge – Missoula, MT

Competition – Is there a strong field?

Kinda hit or miss. Seems to be stacked with local runners every few years or so like races tend to be. Then the other years its anybody’s race.

Logistics – Does it require a special handshake, registration a year in advance, hotels all booked? Give us the low down on the nuts and bolts of making the race happen.

If there is an event like this somewhere here in Montana don’t count on trying to book a hotel a couple weeks before hand. Goes for pretty much any race. The start is on a private ranch with public access so camping out is a no go as far as I know.

Aid Stations – Standard fare or anything special to know about the aid stations in terms of what’s available or when?

Cupless race, bring a cup you can stuff in a pocket.

Weather and typical race conditions

Varies. This year is was overcast and didn’t start snowing till the end of the award ceremony. Last year you could have gotten snowed on at the top.

Spectators – Is this a friendly course for your friends?

Definitely! Not like your going to see the majority of the course since its hilly you’ll have to do some work if you want to see more than the start/finish. Then the question is are you going to see either the start and finish or skip either/or? Can you make it back? People walk the course just be courteous to the runners. They are in danger of not being able to think at times.

How’s the Swag?

Standard Swag, Awesome shirt and finishers medal. I really like the medals. And the group awards if your lucky enough to snag one of those are cool! They have been dishing out ones made of wood!

The Overall Score – How many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it?

What scale? 5/5 or 10/10. Originally from Alaska and have ran races there, here in Montana, couple, in Idaho and Oregon. Ran through college so all over during that time. Experienced the good the bad and the ugly in terms of organization and this is defiantly one of the better ones.

Looking to run your first trail race and not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered.

Photo: The Runners Edge – Missoula, MT