Sara Montgomery wins K-Rock at Rock and Ice Ultra

The third annual BHP Billiton Rock and Ice Ultra began in Yellowknife, NWT in Canada’s north on March 21, 2009.

The Rock and Ice Ultra consists of three separate distances including the one-day 55km Cold Foot Classic, the three-day 135km K-Rock Ultra and the six-day 225km Diamond Ultra. Participants can choose to race by ski or by foot/snowshoe.

K-Rock and Diamond Ultra participants slept in teepees and tents at remote stage camps each night along the trail. With the harsh climate, challenging conditions and long days of racing, this race almost takes on more of an expedition type atmosphere as opposed to a normal race.

Having participated in the K-Rock Ultra in 2008, I decided to attempt the Diamond Ultra this year, while Sara was making her first trip to the race by running the K-Rock.

We ended up with mixed results, but are happy to report that Sara ran an awesome race and won the women’s K-Rock three day race; while finishing third overall. Sara seemed to get stronger each day with her final winning margin being three hours over second place. Sara won a diamond valued at $2,800, donated by title sponsor BHP Billiton, for her victory.

My race didn’t go as well, as I had to drop out part way through day two with a high fever. While this was disappointing and frustrating, it was nice being able to enjoy Sara’s race experience a little more than if I had still been racing.

Athletes from 11 countries participated this year, although surprisingly no Americans. It would be great to see some other North American athletes compete in the race for 2010.

Look for a full feature article on the BHP Rock and Ice Ultra soon on Snowshoe Magazine.


About the author

Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (, which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.

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