Member Spotlight: Forrest Boughner

Run Wild Missoula would like to thank Forrest for leading two of our Spring Trail Classes, as well as for all of his involvement with RWM and MTC!

Where are you from? What brought you to Missoula?

I grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona: the Missoula of Arizona. We moved up here a few years after college because we liked Flagstaff, but wanted to be where we didn’t grow up. Plus there are more mountain ranges here. 

You have led multiple sessions of Run Wild Missoula Advance Trail Class and a Beginner Trail Class over the last few years.  What is the driving factor to your dedication to our local running community?

Trail running kept me from giving up running forever after college and trails have been a place of relaxation and joy since then. If I can help expose anyone to trail running I want to do that! Beginning classes are awesome in that sense. I love seeing runners develop skills to handle a variety of terrains. And I love being able to help with the advanced class because it’s fun to help runners who want to be more competitive get to that next level.

Why are you stepping off the trails and onto the roads to once again pace the Missoula Half Marathon?

Two reasons. First, I’ve been on the receiving end of a help from people throughout my running career and pacing is a way to help repay that debt. Second, there is a huge value in trail runners running roads. Running efficiency and economy is built by fast running, and sometimes it’s hard to truly run fast on the mountain trails here. Roads are great for developing speed for trails. 

What prompted your decision to become involved in Montana Trail Crew (a part of Run Wild Missoula) and create the Treasure State Trail Series?

Over the course of a year or so Jimmy Grant and I talked about how sweet it would be to have a sub-ultra series of races that we could do. At some point we just decided to go for it. I’m a fan of running new trails as much as possible and I view the Series as a way of encouraging trail runners to explore races and trails beyond their backyard.

Tell us about your decision to launch Alpine Running Guides.

A couple years ago I realized that after each trip I did I had people asking me to take them with me. I figured there are probably a lot of people out there who want to explore new trails, but don’t for whatever reason. We are able to offer single day trips with transportation (shuttles) provided, a great lunch, guiding services, photos, etc. There are a lot of trails in Montana and not a lot of people. This means that a lot of trails don’t get used and in a lot of areas nobody knows if the trails are actually still trails. By going with a guide you know that you’ll be on a trail that exists on maps and the ground. Alpine Running Guides is also another way for me to do my part in exposing trail runners to more miles of trails. If anyone wants to explore I want to do what I can to encourage that. 

What is the most unusual thing you have encountered while running on a trail or mountain?

While in Colorado during peak snowmelt we saw water shooting six inches in the air out of a gopher hole. The snow was melting so fast that enough water pressure built up in the upper reaches of the gopher system that the lower holes looked like the end of a garden hose. Random little things like that make mountains special to me. 

What prompted you to attempt the tallest peak in all of Montana’s mountain ranges?

I grew up in Arizona, which means I learned the biology, ecology, and history of Arizona. The Montana Mountain Project, as I’m calling it, is a way for me to educate myself about Montana. It forces me to visit trails and ranges that I may never otherwise visit. A few of those ranges that don’t have the same “reputation” for adventure as the Bitterroots or Glacier have actually been incredible. Through this project I’ve experienced some incredible parts of the state that I would otherwise have no business visiting. After each trip I write a little post about each peak and include some sort of educational piece that piques my interest. You can view my trips at I just completed my 32nd of 64 peaks! Halfway done.

Finish this sentence: When I’m not running, I’m… catching up on Game of Thrones with my wife Sara, or reading.

Photos courtesy Forrest & Sara Boughner