The Up For Air Series is a collection of endurance events created to amplify informed dialogue and empower organizations actively working on air quality solutions. Proceeds from Up For Area events are directed at carefully selected non-profit groups who demonstrate high-value influence strategies. The race platform is used to expose participants and the general public to science-based material about the importance of healthy air. All events are conducted with a minimal footprint philosophy.
Runner’s Edge is excited to announce our newest event, Running Up For Air (RUFA) Mt. Sentinel! As part of the Up For Air Series, RUFA Mt. Sentinel is a 3, 6, or 12-hour winter endurance challenge on Mt. Sentinel (5,158’ elevation), the iconic mountain on the edge of Missoula.
Missoulians are lucky enough to have some of the best access to trails and wild places in the country. However, our beautiful valley is often plagued by poor air quality – both wildfire smoke in the summer and wintertime inversions. Participants will ascend Mt. Sentinel and attempt to summit the mountain as many times as possible to raise awareness and money to address air quality issues affecting our valley and home. Participants are encouraged to gather pledges for each lap completed up the mountain. All proceeds from this event go to Climate Smart Missoula and their efforts to improve air quality for all Montanans.
The race begins at the M-Trail parking lot and climbs the switchbacks to the M. The route then climbed the steep Northwest Ridge Trail to the Sentinel summits (note: this is a change from 2020, when the course was an out/back up the M Trail and Boy Scout Trail). A small aid station awaits on top. Head over the summit and descend back down to the base area on the Boy Scout Trail, then the M Trail. While only 4 miles long, each lap on this classic route has ~1,900’ of elevation gain. Repeat this route as many times as possible or until you Refuse To Continue (RTC). The time of year (February!) is intentional as it coincides with reduced winter air pollution but is safely before the summer fire season.
***Given the time of year the route is very likely to be either muddy, icy, entirely snow-covered, or a combination of these conditions. As a result, traction devices (such as Kahtoola Microspikes) will be required and staying on-trail at all times will be MANDATORY.***
Climate Smart Missoula
Climate Smart Missoula is a local non-profit organization working to catalyze efforts to reduce our carbon footprint and build a resilient and equitable Missoula. Since launching in 2015, they have grown their signature "Summer Smart" initiative to help Missoula and the surrounding region better respond to changing conditions, particularly wildfire smoke and extreme heat. Climate Smart continues to grow efforts to educate people about the risks of wildfire smoke & unhealthy air and how to stay healthy. A key component of this encourages the indoor use of HEPA Portable Air Cleaners, and via donated funds, they provide these free of charge to those most in need. The best time to begin to prepare for summer smoke is in the winter! More at missoulaclimate.org.