This will be my third year directing the Pengelly Races. I have had some pretty big shoes to fill, as the previous director, Kevin Twidwell, did such an amazing job making this race one of Missoula’s favorites. As for how I got started, I can’t remember exactly. I think Kevin may have asked me if I was interested in taking the reins on a run one day.
How many times have you run the race yourself? Do you plan to run it again in the future?
I have run it four times and definitely plan on running it again in the future. I think that is one of the greater challenges of being an RD; you direct the race because you love it so much, but then you never get to participate. #firstworldproblem
Pengelly is a Missoula tradition, but it can be daunting for first timers. Any advice for aspiring Dippers?
For all of you out there that are intimidated by this race, don’t be. You are all amazing, hard-working runners. Put your time in, train hard, take a trail running class, and do it. And if it makes you feel any better, I was there, too. I actually did a “practice” run before signing up for it to make sure I could even complete the course. I didn’t have an exit plan if I was unable to complete it though. Perhaps I would have just stayed at the beacon for the rest of my life.
Since I took over, we have made a few changes. We tried adding a third race, the Vertical Dip, but that didn’t seem to get the participation we had hoped for, so we are removing it this year. We added a timing mat at the saddle, which has been a fun addition; now you can track your splits a little bit better. We re-routed the last section of the Double Dip onto the single-track along the river. We have had some really positive feedback on that, as that last mile was a struggle on the flat, straight, suffer-fest of a section.
And the most important question of all, will there be margaritas at the top of the Beacon?
I don’t know what you are talking about. ; )
Photos courtesy of Jamie Swartz and Montana Trail Crew