Saturday, June 15, 2024
49.0°F

Running streak — West Glacier woman uses Mount Brown route to train

by JEREMY WEBER
Daily Inter Lake | October 16, 2022 12:00 AM

No one knows the Mount Brown trail in Glacier National Park like Somer Treat.

In the past six years, the West Glacier resident and marathon runner has run the 5-mile trail with its 4,200 feet climb to a majestic fire lookout more than 200 times.

Why, you may ask. Mainly because it is there.

“It’s close to my house and I am able to get there and get up and back and still have the rest of the day afterwards. There is just something about the unique torture of if that I am just in to,” Treat explained. “Sure, I get teased about doing the same thing over and over, but it is always different and it is always beautiful. It wasn’t intentional. It has just sort of just become my thing that I do. It sounds a little neurotic, but it’s my weekend meditative ritual.”

A competitive runner in high school, Treat would run recreationally in college, along with her late husband, who was a track and cross country athlete at the University of Montana.

Treat eventually took up marathon running in her late 20s and decided to challenge herself to run at least three miles every day for 100 days. That 100-day goal long behind her, Treat recently passed 15,000 miles and her 5,000th consecutive running day.

“When I got to the end of the 100 days, I figured I might as well run a full year. Then I figured I would see how long I could go without breaking the streak,” she said. “I just keep it going. It is like a game for me.”

When she signed up for The Rut Ultra Marathon in Big Sky six years ago, Treat needed a place to train.

Where better than the mountain in her own backyard?

“There is something about Mount Brown in that it is hard every time I do it, but it is also rewarding,” she said. “Plus, I have a bit of an addiction to lookouts. I built my own house to look like a fire lookout.”

From May through the beginning of November, snow, rain, shine or fog, Treat makes her run up the mountain every weekend.

On a good day, she can reach the top in just under an hour and a half, on a rougher day, a little over.

Each run is different, each with a chance to meet new people on the trail and visit her near-constant companions at the lookout — Mount Brown’s mountain goats.

“I could tell a story about every run to the top. It’s different in the spring when you have to punch through the snow than running when it is hot in the summer. I will occasionally run into bears and almost always goats. I’ve seen amazing sunrises up there and I have even run it at night a few times,” she said. “I’ve been to the top in horrible weather when you work so hard to get up there and then you can’t see anything. I’ve been up there for some of the most spectacular views imaginable. No matter what I see, it is always worth it.”

The only thing that has finally stopped her weekend ascension, construction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road that has left the trail inaccessible until the spring.

“I might see if I can get a boat ride up there before the snows come,” she said. “Maybe I can get one last run in this year.”

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has been running the trail to the Mt. Brown Lookout every possible weekend for the past 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has seen the Mt. Brown Lookout in every weather condition during her weekly run up the trail the last 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has seen the Mt. Brown Lookout in every weather condition during her weekly run up the trail the last 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has seen the Mt. Brown Lookout in every weather condition during her weekly run up the trail the last 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat takes a short break at the lookout after he weekly run up the Mt. Brown trail (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat takes a short break at the lookout after he weekly run up the Mt. Brown trail (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has been running the trail to the Mt. Brown Lookout every possible weekend for the past 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has been running the trail to the Mt. Brown Lookout every possible weekend for the past 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat takes a short break at the lookout after he weekly run up the Mt. Brown trail (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat has seen the Mt. Brown Lookout in every weather condition during her weekly run up the trail the last 15 years. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat says the most common companions during her weekly run up the Mt. Brown trail are mountain goats. (photo provided)

photo

West Glacier's Somer Treat says the most common companions during her weekly run up the Mt. Brown trail are mountain goats. (photo provided)