The Helena-grown Prickly Pear Land Trust offers the perfect antidote to that “fenced in” feeling that’s plagued most Montanans during the past two years with its annual Don’t Fence Me In trail run. As with all things COVID-19, the Land Trust had to host the race virtually the last couple of years. But now – on Saturday, May 7 – it’s time to break free!
“Hats off to our staff and the many volunteers who worked tirelessly to bring back this awesome race,” says PPLT Executive Director Mary Hollow. “We are thrilled to celebrate open space on the best trails in Montana.”
From fierce competitors to determined lollygaggers, this event has something for everyone. The 30K, with an elevation gain of nearly 3,935 feet and an 18.43-mile course, is not for the faint of heart. Along the way, runners take a round-trip tour of some of the greatest running trails in Helena’s South Hills, summitting both Mount Ascension and Mount Helena.
Both the 20K and 12K walk and run follow a similar route, as participants scramble up hills and around trees. Those who prefer to smell the wild roses might want to embark on the popular non-competitive 5K Dog Walk. Fees range from $35-$85 for the 5K, 12K and 30K races or the 5k dog walk; kids under 13 run for free.
Stick around for the after-party in Pioneer Park with food trucks, beer from Blackfoot River Brewery, and live funk/soul music by the band STiLGoNE.
This iconic event began 22 years ago. What started as a small gathering to grow support and excitement for trails is now a major regional event that draws hundreds of people from across the west to Downtown Helena. Funds from this race support ongoing projects like the Canyon Cattle conservation easement to protect 5 miles of the Missouri River, South Hills trail maintenance, and Tenmile Creek Park management.
“It’s all about coming together, celebrating our unifying love of fresh air, and just letting off some steam and running wild,” say organizers.
The Prickly Pear Land Trust strives to preserve and protect the rural character of the Prickly Pear Valley and adjoining lands in Lewis and Clark, Jefferson, Broadwater and Powell counties through voluntary and cooperative means, and seeks to connect people to their natural surroundings though trails and access to public lands.
The countdown is on; find out more and register for the race at pricklypearlt.org/event.