Two words, Ed: business finished.

It took nearly 30 years, but the original route you wanted runners to traverse over the Bridger Mountains has been completed.

Under a setting full moon and soon-to-be blazing sun, five Montana State University teachers/administrators and a banker pulled off your plan on Saturday.

Just as they promised.

The idea - your idea, actually - was hatched last fall; to start the race named after you at Flathead Pass. That'll make the race first known as the Bridger Ridge Skip the same distance as a marathon: 26 miles.

That's how you envisioned it after completing the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in 1982.

You know the story. For those who don't ...

Since this race - now known as the Ed Anacker Bridger Ridge Run - debuted in 1985, it has started at Fairy Lake and finished 20 miles later at the ‘M' parking lot. But it was Ed who originally wanted it to be marathon distance.

He even scouted the route from Flathead Pass, in the northern Bridgers, during the early '80s. But the terrain proved too difficult for even the rugged and always-persistent Ed.

Sacagawea Peak to the ‘M' would have to do. Did so for 25 years.

When last year's race was completed, however, a small group of finishers decided the time had come to embrace Ed's original vision. Come winter, the urgency only increased when Ed landed in the hospital.

It was during his final days when Ridge Run race director David Summerfield told Ed that an attempt was being made to start at Flathead Pass.

And when Ed passed away April 3 at age 89, it was "the final catalyst," said Liz McGoff, one of the half dozen runners who met Saturday at 4:15 a.m. at ‘M' parking lot for the hour drive to Flathead.

The problem with starting so far north is not the extra distance. There's no trail to follow.

There are also two peaks of more than 9,000 feet to climb.

One of them is Hardscrabble, the tallest summit in the Bridgers. When Terry Leist, Greg Young, Clem Izurieta, Kurt Buchl, Rob Maher and McGoff were originally planning their route, some wondered if it was worth including the nearly 9,600-footer.

The idea was shot down. If Ed wanted it that way, then Hardscrabble was in.

The group's fear was realized early Saturday when Young, MSU's provost, and Buchl, the banker, got lost near the peak. But they soldiered on. Ed would have.

Leist, MSU's VP of administration and finance, surprised everyone when he became the first to finish what McGoff called "Ed's Ultra" in less than eight hours. McGoff, an adjunct MSU instructor, was next.

McGoff has run the Ridge nearly a dozen times and is a multiple-time women's champion. She usually finishes well before noon. But on Saturday, it was 2:24 p.m. with temperatures approaching the mid-80s when she came bobbing down the final few steep steps that lead to the finish line, crossing with a smile and a bloody left knee.

A weary Izurieta followed 30 minutes later. He's completed this race eight previous times, but just three weeks ago, ran a 100-miler at Lake Tahoe. And before that, two 50-kilometer races.

"This race is harder than all of them," he said. "I'm not kidding."

Maher, the head of MSU's electrical and computer engineering department, had never completed the Ridge as a competitor, but on several occasions has been part of the "sweep" crew that pulls up the rear to make sure all runners make it safely along the rocky trail.

On Saturday, Maher not only finished, he operated a HAM radio in order to make sure his five counterparts weren't in any danger. And he also received an exclusive T-shirt that included the words, "The Real Bridger Ridge Run."

Maher later marveled at what this event has become.

It was 26 years ago that just 24 runners completed the race during its debut. These days, the field eclipses 300 and fills up in minutes when registration opens.

"I'm always amazed that one individual can do something that takes on a whole life of its own and sustains itself after his death," Maher said. "This will continue on."

Three letters, Ed. RIP.