Rideout wins ultrarunning race in Utah

July 13, 2016

speedgoat1When former Anchorage resident Abbie Rideout checked the projected times at ultrasignup.com in advance of last Saturday’s brutally hard Speedgoat 50-kilometer mountain-running race, she was only the sixth- or seventh-ranked woman.

Granted, the rankings are based on past performances and not necessarily indicative of one’s current fitness. But with the likes or Magdalena Boulet and Nikki Kimball entered — both have won the prestigious Western States 100-miler and Boulet ran the women’s marathon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing — Rideout didn’t consider herself a favorite.

You don’t run the race on paper, though.

Rideout topped not only Boulet and Kimball, but all the women, finishing the punishing event at Utah’s Snowbird Ski Resort in 6 hours, 50 minutes and 41 seconds. She thereby earned one of ultrarunning’s biggest payouts: a $5,000 winner’s prize paid in $100 bills plus an actual goat’s foot trophy.

“I’m still on a crazy runner’s high from winning,” Rideout said by phone Tuesday from Salt Lake City, where she works as a nurse. “I was not expecting to do as well I did.”

Halfway through, Rideout moved into the lead by passing Kelly Wolf of Colorado, who wound up second 23 minutes after Rideout.

The race was run with a temperature in the mid-70s and featured 11,800 feet of climbing, all of it at altitude above 7,600 feet.

“It’s one of those races where you hate the RD (race director) the whole time,” said Rideout, who placed third at Speedgoat in 2015 and won the 2010 Crow Pass Crossing. “It’s hot and it’s long. It’s a mental challenge and a physical challenge.”

Four years ago, Rideout and husband Stephen left Anchorage, where they still own a house in Nunaka Valley. They traveled for a year, lived in Juneau for a year and then moved to Salt Lake City in 2014 so Stephen could attend nursing school.

“The end goal is definitely to head back to Alaska,” said Rideout, 36, who celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary the day before the race. “I miss the people and the wild spaces.”

Rideout loves exploring Utah’s unique geography — she toured a mountain ridge for six hours two days after the race — but doesn’t race much.

“I don’t travel to race,” said Rideout, who will do her longest race yet, the 93-kilometer Tushar Trail Run next month in southern Utah. “I race what’s convenient and local.”

Her current Ultrasignup female ranking at the Tushar Trail Run? Second, narrowly trailing only ultra legend Darcy Piceu.

– By Matias Saari, ASHOF Blog Contributor