Saturday was a beautiful day with mild temperatures and perfect for a run through the mountains. This is where nearly 320 racers were for the annual Trail Rail Run. The race offers 50 mile to 5K races, starting at 7 a.m. (Montana time) at Mullan, Idaho and end in St. Regis. The event is sponsored by the St. Regis Community Council and Tyler Cheesman is in her second year as the Race Director.
“Everything went really well. We had a lot of volunteers but can always use more,” she said. Last year there were 250 racers and only 100 in 2016 and so the event is growing. People love the route which follows the old Milwaukee and Northern Pacific Railroad grades. “Gentle grades, beautiful scenery and moderate temperatures combine for an ultra-great experience while crossing the Rocky Mountain,” their website states.
“What a fun (and hard) day! The friendliness by everyone was contagious. Organizer director and volunteers were excellent, they all really care about the runners. Perfect weather helped, too,” said racer Carolyn Leaman on a Facebook post.
There was a washout near the Henderson aid station and trees needed to be removed from some of the trails by Forest Service personnel, but otherwise the trails were in good condition said Cheesman. She took over as Race Director in 2017 and has a history of doing volunteer work in St. Regis. The area is where she loves to hunt and hike and applied for the job because she wanted to keep it local with someone who is familiar with the area.
There was a lot of local help between volunteers and sponsors including Superior Meats; Blackfoot; Mineral Community Hospital; St. Regis Travel Plaza; the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar; Stangs and the Idaho Forest Group. Two students from the St. Regis High School, Andrew and Anna Sanford were announcers and played online music with equipment from the drama department. Other volunteers did everything from cleaning up the trails, helping with registration, running shuttle buses, manning aid stations, setting up and tearing down. But no one worked harder than Cheesman, who put in a 43 hour shift the day before, and day of, the race. She did manage to get some sleep Saturday night, but was back at it on Sunday to finishing cleaning up.
The first two hundred racers to pick up their packets received swag bags and 50 mile participants received a jacket. Everyone who finished received a railroad spike with a plaque and a t-shirt. The oldest racer in the 50 mile was 70-year-old Wayne Coates from Prescott, AZ while the youngest racer in the 50K was 12-years old Emma Strommen from Meridian, ID. The oldest racer were 82-year old Sharon Booth and Eileen Wolf, both from St. Regis who ran the 5K.
There were several age divisions from under 10 to over 80 and included the 50 Mile; 50 Mile Relay; 50 K (which is 33.5 miles); 30K; 12K; 5K and 50 Mile Hand Cyclist. The 50K started at the Taft Site, the 30K at Haugan; 12K at Ward Creek Road; and 5K at Two Mile. Below are the winners for each race category. The top three finishers in each age group were also recognized at the awards ceremony held in St. Regis Community Park.
Male: Heath Wiltse, 43, from Coeur d’ Alene, ID with time: 6:36:34.39.
Female: Kat Gebauer, 41, from Whitefish, with time: 9:30:59.03
Female: Malia Carr, 27, from Livingston with time: 4:28:31.80.
Male: Austin Allen, 36, Moiese, MT with time: 4:15:41.41.
Female: Jenn Culp, 37, from Missoula with time: 2:37:22.94.
Male: Michael Laforest, 37, from Missoula with time: 1:52:42.22.
Female: Lauren Bourgard, 30, from Kellogg, ID with time 30 55:26.82.
Male: Jon Coleman, 40, from Bozeman with time: 49:07.51.
50 Mile relay
Female team: Meat Candy from Missoula with time: 7:01:28.84.
Female: Elizabeth Malinak, 62, from Otis Orchards, WA, with time: 32:30.20.
Male: Matt Braverman, 37, from Florence with time: 29:16.18.
Hand Cyclist: Sherene Ricci, 41 with time: 13:42:56.57.