March 11, 2007 01:09 pm -
Montana runner captures annual MS Trail
Joel Sather, a U.S.
Forest Service employee, claims 11th annual
By Shawn Wansley,
Joel Sather came to Mississippi to help
What the Noxon, Mont., resident did not
plan on was running in and winning the annual Carl Touchstone
Memorial Mississippi Trail 50 run in the Desoto National Forest
“Well, I work for the U.S. Forest Service
and I came down here to help out with prescribed fires and
wildfires,” he said moments after completing the Longleaf Horse
Trail 50-mile course in 7 hours, two minutes and 22 seconds. “I had
been training for a marathon this spring back home in Montana. I
called the FMO (Fire Management Officer) at the District Office and
he told me about the race.”
Sather, 35, then called race director
Dennis Bisnette and signed up to run.
“I’ve only been here a week,” he said.
While the weather Saturday might have been
pleasant for most, it was not the best thing in the world for the
runners. Temperatures climbed into the upper 70s and caused a few
problems for the competitors.
Sather, in fact, had completed his first
three loops in just over five hours. The last 12 1/2 mile loop took
right at two full hours.
“It’s nice to run a trail through the
woods like this,” he said. “But after the third lap it got pretty
hot. I’m not used to that being from northwest Montana.
“But it’s a very good course. It was fun.
The whole event was very well organized.”
This was only the second 50 mile run for
Sather, a University of Montana graduate. He has competed in around
a half dozen marathons.
“I ran in high school and in college, I
played rugby and drank a bunch of beer,” Sather quipped. “I listened
to my mother, got in shape and started running again.”
Sather is unsure about his next run. He
plans on being in Mississippi doing his job for the next several
“I’ll take it easy for the next few
weeks,” he said. “Then, we get into the fire season, so it’s hard to
train in the fire season. I usually try to run (long distance
events) in the spring or in the winter.”
In the 50-mile women’s event, Ann Heaslett
from Wisconsin took top honors.