Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The local running field in the Nifty Fifty fell to visitors from outside the capital city but the course records held on Saturday in perfect weather for a working day’s time allotment.
Haines’ Garrett Montgomery, 31, topped the Nifty Fifty ultra course in five hours nine minutes and 51 seconds and Garrett Dudley, 38, from Boise, Idaho, topped the 25K course in 2:49:32.
“It’s fun stuff,” Montgomery said. “I like running long distances. It’s just fun to see what your body can do.”
The 50K course leaves Basin Road on the flume, through the high lands and out to the end of Salmon Creek Trail and back. Then it goes up Perseverance Trail and Red Mill and into Granite Creek and back to climb the Mount Roberts trail to Father Brown’s Cross and back. In past years the Salmon Creek section was last.
Montgomery said the hardest part was “going up Roberts. When I saw the route was switched I thought it was going to work to my advantage, I do a lot of uphill training. And, yeah, my legs were jello by the time I got there.”
Montgomery said he was using the Nifty Fifty as a training run for the 4th Annual Takshanuk Ridge Run, an 11.5-mile trail race, Aug. 27 in Haines.
“It’s 4,000 foot gain, should be super fun,” he said. “So Juneau runners sign up on runsignup.com and come run with us. It’s a beautiful trail.”
The Nifty Fifty 50K field only started five of the 12 racers who signed up. The 50K course record of 3:54:38 set by Allan Spangler, 30, in 2017 held.
Montgomery was followed by Boykin Lucas, 35 (Juneau), in 5:22:32; Jon Stearns, 45 (Douglas), 5:35:53; Nathan Forester, 40 (Whitehorse, Yukon Territory), 5:47:26; and Keegan Hollrith, 26 (Salt Lake City, Utah).
The 25K field started 16 of the 22 racers who signed up, one did not finish. The 25K course record of 1:56:22 set by Michael Lohery, 17, in 2014 held. The course excludes the Salmon Creek run.
“The last climb up Mount Roberts for sure,” Dudley said of the toughest part. “Very steep, technical, a lot of roots, very slippery, it was brutal. Just kind of a training race for me. I have a couple marathons coming up and a trail 50K in Red Rocks, outside Las Vegas. I got into trail running in 2018 and I’ve been trying to do a fun trail race in every state. So this is my Alaska race. It was recommended to me by a buddy who used to live here, named Owen Hatcher.”
Hatcher set the eighth fastest 50K time here with 4:40:31 in 2019 at age 26.
“It was beautiful,” Dudley said. “Probably one of my favorite trail races that I have done for sure. And I’ve raced some nice races in Oregon and Washington, too, but this is great. This is my favorite. I will absolutely be back.”
Dudley was followed across the line by Phil Ganz, 33 (Juneau), 3:00:06; Franz Mueter, 57 (Juneau), 3:10:10; Geoff Davis, 32 (Juneau), 3:19:58; Quinn Tracy, 42 (Juneau), 3:30:44; Amy Nguyen, 37 (Lakeside, Arizona), 3:31:18; Joshua Wilson, 29 (Juneau), 3:34:24; Ray Dwyer, 61 (Juneau), 3:44:41; Jason Branstetter, 42 (Gladstone, Oregon), 3:46:25; Joel Huerta, 28 (Juneau), 3:47:20; Addison Field, 49 (Juneau), 3:49:34; Kevin McCray, 35 (Juneau), 3:53:46; Christy Gentemann, 33 (Juneau), 3:58:49; Benjamin Thompson, 24 (Juneau), 4:04:10; and Michelle Vaughn, 45 (Pinetop, Arizona), 5:21:40.
“It’s a doozy,” Ganz said of the Mount Roberts climb. “It is all of Mount Roberts. I was running just to get out. It’s a good race. I’ve done it a few years ago and took a wrong turn so my only goal was to stay on course this year.”
Juneau’s Clem Taylor-Roth, 21, blistered the 10K course in 40 minutes and 12 seconds, nearly getting the record set by Kieran Ryan, 26, who hit 39:18 in 2014. The 10K follows the 25K portion to the Glory Hole and back.
During the run Taylor-Roth said, “I am using the race for a pre-college tuneup. I leave in two weeks.”
Sean Fagan, 23, of Portland, Oregon placed second in 43:41, followed by Edgar Vera, 15 (Juneau), 43:55; Maisy Morley, 16 (Juneau), 52:55; Abe Levy, 35 (Juneau), 58:47; Brittni Wisner, 28 (Juneau), 59:18; Randy Peterson, 36 (Juneau), 1:00:52; Khalid Srour, 34 (Juneau), 1:03:02; Sarah Roemeling, 28 (Juneau), 1:03:25; Jennifer Loesch, 40 (Douglas), 1:03:45; Jeremy Duddles, 41 (Ketchikan), 1:03:47; Ingrid White, 28 (Juneau), 1:05:29; John Kirk, 43 (Juneau), 1:06:45; TJ Mason, 37, 1:08:53; Jeremy Hsieh, 39 (Juneau), 1:10:28; Phaydra Brown, 50 (Salem, Oregon), 1:11:52; Steven Thomas, 31 (Anchorage), 1:12:33; Kiyah Brown, 21 (Salem, Oregon), 1:13:54; Kristin McTague, 50 (Juneau), 1:14:26; John Eldridge, 71 (Juneau), 1:17:23; Carlos Meda, 37 (Juneau), 1:18:08; Hannah Bailey, 26 (Juneau), 1:19:09; Jeff Gnass, 76 (Juneau), 1:20:02; Kansas Brown, 27 (Salt Lake City, Utah), 1:22:50; Kassia Brown, 25 (Beaverton, Oregon), 1:26:41; and Linda Kruger, 71 (Juneau), 1:52:17.
“I needed a warm down from the IRONMAN,” 10K finisher Randy Peterson said. Peterson completed IRONMAN Alaska last Sunday. “It was fun to just get out here and do a local race which I haven’t done in a while.”
Peterson described a rundown after IRONMAN like this: “Your heart rate spikes at weird times and in weird places. The uphill was the hardest part… the down was the easiest… and the cookies at the end were delicious.”