There are a few more things that are required of you before we let you start. Read on to find out all the important info about required pre-race meetings, how/when to get to the start point, what happens at each race checkpoint, and what you can expect for aid.
There’s also some suggestions for clothing/gear and info about the post-race party! And yes, much of this information is repeated over on Course Info & Maps. It’s just that important.
A Course Orientation Meeting will be held Friday, August 12th, at 5:30 PM at the new finish line, near the Fish Hatchery. All runners, especially first-time Ridge Runners, are encouraged to attend.
The Fish Hatchery is located about 2 miles north of Bozeman on Montana Highway #86 around mile marker 4. From downtown Bozeman, take Rouse Street from Main Street – going north, then east, as it becomes Bridger Road – and you’ll see a highway sign on the right side of the road, across from the ‘M’ parking lot. That is where the meeting and post-race party will take place.
Unfortunately, we lose a few people each year, and they usually get lost at the same places! We don’t want it to happen any more! Though we say we aren’t responsible for those who get lost, we certainly feel responsible and have to go looking for you if you DO get lost. Thanks for helping us help you have a better run!
At these meetings, we will provide cell phone numbers of race personnel who will be on the course during the race. If you are carrying your own personal cell phone, you can obtain these numbers and use them in case of an emergency. This did help a woman who badly twisted her ankle, and was able to obtain help in a more timely manner.
Equipment and Clothing:
The weather can be extreme, the footing hazardous, and it is a long way between snacks and water. Bring your own cold weather gear to the start – in case you need it (it’s a lot colder on Sacajawea than at the “M”). Plan on carrying a rain/wind shell, gloves, knit hat, map, water, and snacks. There are excellent padded belts commercially available to carry these items.
You may want to start the race with a long sleeve shirt to keep you warm until the sun comes up with a singlet/T-shirt, with number attached, over it. Shoe preference is very individual. You need good support and cushioning. A good trail shoe is best – not hiking boots. Run on similar terrain for your training well before the race to find out what works best for you.
Race Day Information:
The start: the start will be at the Fairy Lake trail head which heads up Sacajawea Peak at 6:30am sharp (first wave).
All runners have given us an estimated finish time, which will place everyone in one of 5 start “waves”. Each wave will start 5 minutes apart. Anyone thinking they could win up through the 50-59 age group should request to be in wave 1.
Runners are encouraged to carpool to Fairy Lake from the ride-sharing lot at the Gallatin County Fairgrounds lot off Oak Street. This is an informal carpool affair – make yourself visible and knock on a few windows. Plan on leaving the Fairgrounds around 5:00 am . If you leave at 5:30 am, you will not make the start on time!
We must account for all participants at the start, so runners should be at Fairy Lake ready to run no later than 6:15am. There will be a barrier set-up across the road on the way to the trail head – this is where you check-in and receive your bib number. That is the only way to get your race number, and it is the only way we can know for sure who is actually starting the race.
Having completely accurate counts is essential to be able to track who is on the course. All names garnered at the start are then radioed on to the various checkpoints. We are responsible to take excellent care of you up on the Ridge! The start will NOT be delayed.
All warm-up clothing/ bags/personal belongings will be taken down to the finish area.
Your race numbers MUST be completely visible on your front when going through the 4 checkpoints. The race is designed to finish at 2:30 pm, or 8 hours of running. Any later than that puts the race and volunteers in a tricky position with regards to afternoon thunderstorms.
We need to get all personnel off the Ridge by 2:30 pm. To make this happen, the cut-off times are STRICTLY enforced. If you fail to make a deadline, you will be asked to stay at the checkpoint and to come down off the mountain with a race personnel. You will be escorted to the finish line, so the race officials can check you off as having officially gotten off the mountain. Any disregard for any of these “rules” will result in not being able to enter any future Ridge Runs.
You must be at the following checkpoints at the following times in order to continue the race:
- Sacagawea – 1:15 from the start plus 20 min for 5 waves (8:05 am)
- Ross Pass – 3:00 from the start plus 20 min for 5 waves (9:50 am)
- Bridger Bowl – 4:15 from the start plus 20 min for 5 waves (11:05 am)
- Finish Line – 2:30 pm
Aid – Water Stations
These Aid Stations are supplements to what you are already carrying yourselves. Everyone should start the race with full bottles/camelbacks and lots of their own snack materials.
There are 3 official Aid Stations:
- Ross Pass
- Bridger Bowl
- Mt. Baldy
These will have ample water available – enough to take a drink, and fill your water bottles – at least a full quart. A limited amount of water will be carried to Sacajawea by the volunteers the morning of the race – a cup a piece.
There is also what we call “an emergency aid station” 1/2 way down from Mt. Baldy. Here, we will have water, Gatorade, cookies, candy – as a help to those struggling down the last couple miles. For those not needing any supplies, please just run by this station. We will have over 70 gallons of water at the main stations, but only about 20 gallons here.
There will be basic 1st Aid supplies available, though you are responsible for the correct application of these materials. Runners can leave excess clothing/equipment for the volunteers to carry down for them – but the retrieval of such items at the post race party is always in question.
Safety is our paramount concern. There will be a sweep team bringing up the rear, and radio or telephone contact is maintained between that team, the checkpoints, and the race director.
If you are injured too badly to continue, stay on the marked trail and wait for the sweep team. They will have whatever is necessary to help you.
Under NO circumstances should a runner leave the course except under the direction of the race support personnel.
If you can walk comfortably but feel you cannot finish the race, walk to the next aid station. Do not attempt to finish if you are severely injured.
If severe weather occurs (thunderstorms, high winds, extreme cold, accumulating snow) stay off the ridge top but stay within sight of the course. If you get lost after Ross Pass, go back up to the top of the ridge – you should be within sight of the sweep team as they come along. Before Ross Pass, keep looking for the Foothills Trail on the Bozeman side of the Ridge.
The Race Director reserves the right to cancel or stop the event in case of extreme weather conditions. If lightning strikes nearby, get off the top of the Ridge! Your main concern should always be: proper pacing, adequate clothing, proper hydration/caloric intake.
PLEASE, if your physical condition is in any way questionable on August 13th, do not participate in the race!!
The after party
The Post Race Party will be held at the Finish Line starting around 3pm, with awards and random drawing prizes starting around 2:45 pm.
We will be serving locally grown grass-fed beef burgers and other locally produced food and drinks, starting around noon and going on up until the award ceremony.
We’ve always wanted to make the finish line area more of a spectator event, besides having half-stunned worn-out runners stumbling around. Feel free to invite friends and family to join you at the finish, but please encourage all to take advantage of the free, continuous shuttle service taking runners and spectators back and forth between the Fairgrounds and the Fish Hatchery finish line area!
Come join the party!