For many runners, one of the best things about summer is the sheer number and variety of competitive races.

With so many events to choose from, sometimes it’s difficult to decide which ones truly are worth the entry fee. In my opinion, the Pengelly Double Dip and Single Dip — which take place in Missoula this Saturday, June 9 — are two races that definitely make the cut.

I participated in last year’s Single Dip, which is a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) race that begins on the Kim Williams trail near The University of Montana campus. The course takes runners up the “M” trail, across Mount Sentinel, and through part of the university residential district before looping back to the starting line.

The Double Dip, which is a half-marathon (13.1 miles), goes all the way to the top of Mount Sentinel and weaves around various trails on the mountain.

Let me tell you, starting a race with a 1.5-mile climb up a steep mountain trail certainly is a challenge, but it also is something that sets this race apart from other running events, making it worth the effort (and pain). The gorgeous views of Missoula and awesome race volunteers add to the experience as well.

When I finally crossed the finish line, my legs were totally dead. I could barely walk to the post-race refreshments table to get a cup of Gatorade. But I must admit, I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Plus, it was fun to sit and watch the Double Dip competitors come through the finish line — many of them adorned with scrapes, scratches and mud splatters.

If you’re a runner looking for something a bit more exciting than the standard road race, I recommend checking it out. For more information or to register, visit Run Wild Missoula’s website.

Brooke is a 2010 graduate of The University of Montana, where she ran track and cross country for the Grizzlies. She is currently working as a writer and editor in Missoula.