One year after spending her 4th of July holiday competing in the grueling 90th annual Mount Marathon Race at Seward, Alaska, professional mountain runner Morgan Arritola was back at it—this time in the mountains of Utah.
Bend (Ore.) native and Community School graduate Arritola, 32, won the Women’s Pro division of the Cirque Series mountain running opener Saturday, June 30 in the Wasatch mountains starting and finishing at Brighton, Utah.
Arritola completed the 6.7-mile course with 3,015 vertical feet of climbing with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes and 24 seconds. She placed sixth overall of 21 Pro competitors and was the first of 11 female finishers by over 11 minutes.
The 2015 U.S. mountain running women’s champion and former Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Nordic ski racer won $700 for first place. Pro Men’s winner was former Wichita State distance runner Ryan Phebus, 28, an Illinois native now from Basalt, Co. with a 1.06:15 mark.
In all, there were 499 high-altitude finishers starting early Saturday at the 8,755-foot base of Brighton and making a tough climb along BackBone Trail to the 10,795-foot Mt. Millicent. The event took place in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest of the Salt Lake Ranger District.
Arritola said she has returned to living in Ketchum after finishing college in Boise.
She said, “I’m still racing and just competed last weekend in the first of the Cirque Series races, one of which is coming here in August. It’s very technical running and a great event.
“I’m so happy to be back in Ketchum. This is the community that has supported me and I love every part of being here.”
Other races in the 2018 Cirque Series occur at Alta, Utah on July 14; at Alyeska, Alaska Aug. 5; in the Sun Valley area Aug. 11, at Arapahoe Basin in Colorado Aug. 18; and at Snowbird, Utah Sept. 8.
The Sun Valley Cirque Series event is being advertised as a 9.4-mile course, with 3,955 vertical feet of climbing. The field is capped at 500 runners. Visit cirqueseries.com/sun valley for more details.