Thursday, December 10, 2009


The readers of Runner’s World have selected the Missoula Marathon in Missoula, Mont., the best marathon in the magazine’s January issue, which hit newsstands this week.

Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso traveled to Missoula to deliver the news with Missoula Marathon Race Director Jennifer Straughan on Tuesday, Dec. 1. Straughan and Yasso revealed the results of the survey and the magazine to a room full of event volunteers and supporters who had gathered for the annual race planning meeting. Readers were asked to rank marathons they have run based on scenery, course, aid station support and more. Marathons of all sizes were considered, and Missoula beat out several large events such as New York, London and Boston.

Straughan was thrilled when she heard readers had bestowed her race with the “best marathon” title.

“To think that the Missoula Marathon earned such a distinction from the readers of Runner’s World Magazine is an amazing honor. Everyone in our community cares very much about this event, and this is a testament to everyone’s involvement and dedication to the Missoula Marathon.”

The first Missoula Marathon was held in July 2007. Since then the race has doubled in size. In addition to the full marathon, there is also a half marathon, marathon relay, and kids’ marathon, plus a 5K held the day prior. In 2009, more than 2,300 people raced in one of the weekend’s events.

Straughan expects to see a significant jump in registration for the 2010 event on Sunday, July 11, after Runner’s World’s 2.8 million readers see what the Missoula Marathon has to offer.

“We look forward to providing the same great event to runners from all over the country and the world, who because of the runners and readers of Runner’s World, now know about our race and our community.”

The Missoula Marathon begins west of town and follows paved roads through rural neighborhoods before routing runners through Missoula’s picturesque neighborhoods and to the finish line on Higgins Avenue Bridge in downtown above the Clark Fork River. Each year, hundreds of local residents staff aid stations and while hundreds more line the course to cheer racers on as they make their way toward the finish line and the post-race party in Caras Park.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bart Yasso Talk & Book Signing, December 2, 7 - 9 p.m.

The Missoula Marathon is kicking off the 2010 event with an inspirational evening with Bart Yasso! Bart Yasso is a runner and coach, and is best known for his writing in Runner's World Magazine and the infamous Yasso 800's training technique.

Bart Yasso is here to discuss his favorite subject and ours, "Never Limit Where Running Can Take You." He will also do a book signing for "My Life on the Run."

Date: Wednesday, December 2nd
Time: 7pm - 9 pm
Place: DoubleTree Hotel Missoula Edgewater
Cost: FREE!

We are thrilled to have Bart Yasso in Missoula and to sponsor this event in conjunction with the DoubleTree Hotel. Don't miss it! Bring your friends while you're at it. If you've been wondering why you run, or why you are thinking about running, come find out.

Questions? Email

Run Off the Pumpkin Pie before You Eat It!

This year run off the pumpkin pie before you eat it! Line up on Thanksgiving Morning for Run Wild Missoula’s popular Turkey Day 8K. The race starts at 9:30 am in front of the Boone & Crocket Club in downtown Missoula. Cost is $12 for running club members, $15 for non-members. Overall winners receive a pumpkin pie from Break Espresso; everyone receives a pair of gloves from Runner’s Edge. Register at Runner’s Edge, online at, or race day starting at 8:30.

The Turkey Day 8K is sponsored by Fresh 104.5, Runner’s Edge, Break Espresso, Albertson’s, Great Harvest Bread Co. and Jen Vanderburg massage.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sweathouse Half Marathon & 5-Mile Courses

The Sweathouse Half Marathon & 5-Mile Run / Walk is coming right up on Saturday, September 12! The first ever race is proving to be more popular than we anticipated-- we already have 70 registrations! For details and to download a registration form please visit

Below are maps of the coursing to help you mentally prepare. Good luck!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Run Wild Missoula Group Runs

Run Wild Missoula now has official group runs leaving from Runner's Edge on Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Here are a few sample routes:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Sweathouse Half Marathon & 5-Mile Race Planning Underway

Our Montana summer has been beautiful and mild, allowing for perfect running/walking conditions. Although it seems as though this season has just begun, shortly it will be ending. This is a perfect time to train for the upcoming Sweathouse Half-Marathon on September 12. The route was created by Vic Mortimer, and includes scenes of trees, mountain ranges, and a few small creeks along the way. The paved roads incorporate gravel roads as well and a few strong hills. All in all, this run is centrally located and probably one of the prettiest in the Valley. Already, we are receiving registrants and requests for information. Each finisher of the Half-Marathon will receive a finisher's medal (who could pass that up?). In addition to the Half-Marathon, we are also including a Five-Mile Run. This run will be included in the prizes, but will not receive finisher medals. We have started looking for sponsors and have rallied up team efforts with the Victor Fire Department and a few local businesses. We have some great ideas coming down the pike for this run and hope to have them all fall into place. Whether you choose to run, walk, skip, jump, hop, or scoot, we hope you will join us for the fun on September 12.
- Nichole Unruh

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Finish Line

A couple weeks have gone by now, and I still really haven’t stopped grinning over how much fun I had the morning of the Missoula marathon. I wrapped it up in 1:47 or so, and I felt like a million bucks as I was crossing the finish line. The shoes ( held up throughout the whole four-month training schedule and came through for me on marathon day. The iPod ( was cranking out one winner after another. We couldn’t really have asked for much better weather, and the party at the finish line was pretty boss. Mental note: Find a way to bring a wallet next time so as to get a crack at that massage chair. Goals for next year: Do the full; where a silly hat.

Eva Dunn-Froebig, who’s sort of the Steve-Jobs-hipster-genius-manager-character of Run Wild Missoula, asked me a few weeks ago for a “testimonial” explaining why I became a member of the group. I told her it was for the discipline and camaraderie, etc. The truth, though, is that I joined Run Wild Missoula back in March in order to support my then-wife, who had trained for the half-marathon in 2008, but was sidelined with an injury just weeks before the run. Our marriage this winter was in a pretty rocky place, and I was really keen on finding activities that we could do together on a regular basis, the sort of things that would provide opportunities for growth. Training together for the Missoula Marathon seemed perfect.

We were only a few weeks in, though, when my wife decided she wanted to be divorced. Needless to say, I was pretty devastated. There was a sense in which I had been running primarily for her, and so I wasn’t sure initially that I’d keep it up or even stick around Missoula to run in the race come July. But I’d gone and joined the group. So I kept attending the training sessions twice a week, and I stuck with the additional days of running on my own time. It didn’t take long before those runs became pretty important to me, and hitting the pavement definitely helped me through a few lousy days this spring.

One thing that I really liked on race day was seeing all the signs and sidewalk-chalk notes that friends and family had left for runners along the route. Eva asked me the other week what I was running for. One thing I did while running those thirteen miles was to pick out a name from among those on the signs and then sort of mentally dedicated the next mile or so to that person. If the sign said, “Way to go Theresa,” I’d give her a mental high-five, then spend the next mile running for Theresa. If the sidewalk at mile 10 said, “Go Bob!”, I’d spend the next mile running for my man Bob. It was a good mental distraction.

I remember being kind of shocked when I saw the chalk marker saying I was already at mile 12. There was only one more to go?! I felt unstoppable right then, and the sidewalks along the route were more and more crowded with cheering well-wishers. A Weezer song I really like came on the iPod, and I sped up my pace. I know I was wearing a pretty big grin at that point, and it’s possible I pumped my fist a couple of times. For that last mile of the race, I stopped picking out names from among all the sidewalk signs and chalk-mark encouragements. The last mile I just ran for me.
-Brian Kevin

Thursday, July 9, 2009


For those of you who missed registering on-line with ACTIVE, you can still register for the Missoula Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay or Kids Marathon. If you live out-of-town you may register at the EXPO on Saturday 11th up until 6 pm.

If you live in Missoula or the surrounding area, you still have an opportunity to register in person at any First Security Bank location, REI or Runner’s Edge through tomorrow, or at the Expo on Saturday.

Also, don’t forget the Hellgate Village 5K taking place Saturday 11th at 5 pm. You can register for that on Saturday also.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Missoula Marathon Expo, free buses and local Farmers’ Markets

As a reminder to all local runners and a courtesy to our visitors from out of town, thanks to our local city bus company, Mountain Line, on Saturday, July 11, 2009 – the Missoula Marathon race package pick up and Expo day – all Mountain Line buses in Missoula can be used for free, all day. This service is available to everyone. So, whether you are running in any of the races or not, jump into a city bus to go to the Expo to pick up your Race packet and last-minute race essentials, and leave your car at home or at the hotel.

Also, while in Downtown Missoula on Saturday, check out our two local Farmers’ Markets. At both markets, farmers sell locally-grown products, and many vendors are certified organic growers, or at least grow and produce with environmental sustainability in mind. One of the markets is located directly adjacent to the Expo, the other is located just a few blocks down Higgins Street. They both are definitely within walking distance to the Marathon Expo. The two markets will be open-for-business from approximately 8 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and are worth a visit.

There is plenty to do and see during pre-race Saturday in Missoula, and you can still get enough rest to race strong on Sunday.

Vo von Sehlen

Weather for Sunday, July 12

The weather forecast for race day is typical weather for mid-July, starting in the low 50's and ending in the high 80's. It doesn't hit the high until mid to late afternoon, so when the race closes at 12:30 it will be closer to mid 70's. Get ready for great running weather and bring your sunblock.

To help you run a little faster, we have planted some mosquitos along the course. It's a happy healthy mosquito year in western Montana so we didn't have any difficulty finding plenty. In truth, there are only certain spots but when I was placing "marathon route" signs along the country roads I was able to find those pockets easily. For those of you who hate mosquitos but mosquitos love you, I'd suggest some repellent.
It's almost race day! Woo hoo!

Thank you for running.
Jennifer Straughan
Race Director

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Free Gifts

I was still catching my breath from our fifteen-mile run last Sunday when someone commented on the ear buds dangling around my neck. They’re blue, with earpieces that are sort of elongated — not round like the ones Apple sends out with its iPods. I prefer them on account of they fall out less when I’m running.

“Where did you get them?” my fellow trainee wanted to know.

I thought for a minute, and then laughed at the irony: They were actually a gift of the Parliament cigarette company. I quit smoking back in October after ten years as a smoker and one long summer of fits and starts. [Full disclosure: I’ve actually fallen off the wagon a couple times since May, but these were momentary indiscretions and regrettable.] Parliament used to send me all kinds of crazy free gifts. Earbuds, cool cigarette cases, CD organizers. Once they sent these flashing blue electric LED lights shaped like ice cubes. I’ve never actually been to a party where I thought carrying a glowing blue beverage would up my cool factor, but they work really well for lighting a dark tent.

I always told myself that I’d quit smoking when it started affecting my ability to do the things I like to do. Which is pretty moronic, when you think about it, because how would I know? Not long after quitting, though, I found myself doing things with relative ease that used to be a lot tougher — things like biking all the way up Pattee Canyon and tasting my food. So training for the half-marathon seemed like the next logical step. Of course, it’s since become much more for me than just another non-smoking challenge — it’s the culmination of months of work, as well as something convivial, a kind of big aerobic street party celebrating a town that I love.

I do miss the periodic monthly surprises from my peeps at Parliament, though. Finding an unexpected, icy blue package in the mail every couple of months was always a nice surprise. To console myself, a short list of fun things I’ve acquired thanks to my marathon training:

* Sweet Run Wild Missoula shirt, upping the number of non-cotton articles of running-wear in my possession to two.

* Boxer briefs. As a lifelong boxers man, I’d never before shimmied myself into a pair of these bad boys until running-shorts season came around. It’s like having an Ace bandage wrapped around your crotch.

* Blisters. I’ve always said that it’s good to really toughen up your feet early in the summer — lay down that nice, thick layer of calluses. At this rate, I’m gearing up to walk across a bed of hot coals sometime this August.

Not a bad haul, all things considered, and I’ve still got a couple of weeks to go. Maybe next year, Run Wild Missoula will consider handing out ear buds.

- Brian Kevin

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Missoula Marathon Takes Big Strides In Becoming A Greener Race

The Missoula Marathon, since its inception, has tried to be conscience of the environmental impact is has on the communities through which its routes pass. For this year’s race, those efforts of becoming a more environmentally friendly race were drastically increased.

Being already the largest Marathon in Montana, the Missoula Marathon, even as it grows larger, will continue to improve on its carbon footprint and the environmental impact a race of such a magnitude can create.

We are working diligently to make improvements, and this year, we proudly introduce true, ECO friendly, high-end, technical shirts for our finishers made of bamboo charcoal and/or recycled polyester. The bamboo was grown and the t-shirts were dyed and printed in the U.S.A. So, as a fun fact, instead of finding your plastic bottles in the landfills, you now will be able to wear super soft, “10 2-liter plastic bottles” during your next training run or race. We didn’t stop there. The dye for the shirts and the ink for the print are environmentally friendly as well; they are water-based, non-toxic, lead-free, and contain no heavy metals.

The same applies to our official posters and fliers; those were printed on 100% or partially recycled post consumer waste paper, and printed with soy-based inks.

Also starting this year, we will separate garbage from recyclable materials at: the Expo, the Half and Full Marathon Starting Lines, throughout the courses at every aid station, at the finish area, the food area after the finish, and at Caras Park, at which the Medal Ceremonies and other post-race activities will take place.

A big thank you goes out to our post-race food provider, The Good Food Store, by providing: cups, plates, bowls, and any other plastic or paper ware that is made out of bio-degradable corn-based plastic and/or recycled paper.

Our race bags are also made out of partially recycled plastic and are re-usable.

The three leaders of the Half and Full Marathon will be accompanied by bicyclists, not motorized vehicles.

All of the port-a-potties which you’ll find before, during and after the races are free of formaldehyde, and provide an ECO friendly hand sanitizer.

The Runner’s Edge is starting a recycling program for your old running shoes. This program not only takes your shoes so that they don’t end up in the land fills, but will also benefit great causes by either recycling the materials for various projects or by distributing the shoes to individuals in need of a running shoe.

We will not give out plastic bottles which cannot or should not be re-used. However, we will provide filtered and treated drinking water at the Expo, before, definitely during, and after the races. We encourage you to bring your own re-usable water bottle/s to the Expo to stay hydrated.
Our volunteers will be provided with “green” shirts, similar to the finisher shirts, and with re-usable drinking bottles – made out of recycled plastic and are PBA-free.

Be so good and do your part of making the Missoula Marathon an enjoyable and green race experience for yourself and those around you. Please dispose of any gel wrappers, bottles, or any other garbage you may want to shed yourself of during the race at any of the many aid stations throughout to race. Keep in mind, volunteers will pick up your garbage, and it will become more than cumbersome if the volunteers have to collect those items farther than in their immediate areas of the aid stations. Also, we are privileged to be able to run through many neighborhoods, so let’s not trash the front yards of those friendly people who will wave at and cheer for us and have their water sprinklers running for us.

We hope you’ll enjoy our efforts of creating a more environmentally-friendly Marathon race experience for you.

The Missoula Marathon is wishing all of you runners, friends and families a fantastic race and a fun-filled marathon weekend, and is certain that you’ll leave with many great impressions of our beautiful state and city.

Thank you for choosing the Missoula Marathon as one of your races this year!

Vo von Sehlen
Director, Green Efforts
Missoula Marathon

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

HuHot Mongolian Grill and Referee Photo Team Up to Provide Photos for Missoula Marathon

The Missoula Marathon, HuHot Mongolian Grill and Referee Photo have combined efforts to provide a free photo to every finisher of the 2009 Missoula Marathon coming up Sunday, July 12.

“We wanted HuHot to become a sponsor of the Missoula Marathon because the corporate headquarters are here in Missoula and we view this as a healthy event for the community,” explained Mary Halloran, VP of Creative Development and one of several partners in the family-owned company. “We wanted to do something creative that the athletes would appreciate – something that fits and is unique to the Missoula Marathon.”

Rick O’Connor of Referee Photo had the idea of providing a photo to every athlete that finishes the Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay or Kids Marathon. “All we needed was the right sponsor,” said Jennifer Straughan, Race Director. “I was very hopeful when Mary called and said she wanted to find a way to work with us that the photos might be a possibility.”

When athletes cross the finish line they will have the option of stopping at the HuHot photo booth. Referee Photo takes the photos and has the ability to print them out right there on the spot, so the athlete can take the photo at that time. Marathon and Half Marathon participants will receive individual photos, Marathon Relay teams will have a team photo, and Kids Marathon participants will have photos taken in groups.

Athletes will also have the option of purchasing any other photos from Referee Photo as they are posted on-line after the event.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Missoula Marathon Registrations Span 5 Countries & 42 States

The Missoula Marathon will have runners and walkers from 42 states and the District of Columbia, as well as a couple dozen runners from Canada and one each from Belgium, Bermuda, and England (Cambridgeshire, to be exact).

As you might expect, the majority of entrants are from Montana, but Washington has at least 175 entered, and other western states are well
represented: Idaho, Oregon, and Colorado.

Interestingly, several states, including Illinois, Florida, New York, and Virginia, all have more runners entered - at this point - than closer states like Colorado.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What Time Do the Walkers Start?

Not surprisingly, there is some confusion as to what time the walkers start for both the Full and Half Marathons. This is the first year we’ve done Marathon Walkers on the full course, so it’s added a little twist to things. I’ll tackle it one at a time and see if it helps.

Half Marathon Walkers start at 6 am just like everyone else doing the Half Marathon. There is no early start of any kind for the Half Marathon. You don’t even need to register as a “walker” for the Half Marathon because everyone starts at the same time. Everyone in the Half Marathon has 6 ½ hours to finish the course.

Marathon Walkers start at 5 am. Marathon Walkers MUST REGISTER as Marathon Walkers because that’s how we know you’re starting at 5 am. Why do you care? Because if you don’t register as a walker, and you start at 6 am like everyone else, and you finish in 7 ½ hours which is 1:30, the finish line will be closed… shut down… gone… and you won’t get an official time. When you register as a Marathon Walker, you will need to be there right at 5 am because whether you start at 5 or 5:10 or 5:20, you will be marked down as starting at 5 am.

We are very excited about having the course open long enough for the full marathon course this year, and are thrilled to have so many trainees and people participating as walkers, whether it be the Half Marathon or the Full Marathon.

Thank you for walking the Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Brian's Blog: Dead Air

A terrible thing happened to me last week. Because of a month-long Wednesday night commitment, I’ve been running our Wednesday distances all by lonesome on Thursdays. I’d gotten a late start, and I was running on the bike trail towards a killer Missoula sunset when suddenly, my whole world ground to a halt. My iPod shut off. Silence. No batteries. No music. No blinky blinky.

I can’t remember if I stopped or just slowed to a crawl — it’s all kind of blurry now. I don’t think I cried, but I began hyperventilating almost immediately. Oh my god oh my god oh my god, I thought. What do I do now? There’s no way I can keep running. Is it even physically possible for one to move one’s legs in a jogging motion without the Hold Steady blaring in one’s eardrums? Will a person’s footfalls actually coalesce into some kind of steady and predictable pattern without Yo La Tengo cranked up to eleven and setting the pace? I had heard these things were possible, but the reports always seemed to me about as credible as a Bigfoot sighting.

When I talk to friends and acquaintances about marathon training these past few months, I’m repeatedly asked, “What’s your pace? How fast are you running?” Answer: My pace is exactly as fast as the song currently playing on my iPod. When TV on the Radio pops up with an uptempo number, I speed up. When the shuffle gods give me Aimee Mann, I slow down. Once I accidentally dialed up a Bonnie Prince Billy ballad, and I almost had to sit down in the middle of the Kim Williams Trail.

Music is absolutely essential to running, as far as I’m concerned. Actually, one of the things I like most about our Sunday morning run is that it gives me a couple hours each week where I can really concentrate on listening to music. When everything’s clicking — when I hit the zone on mile seven or eight and things are going really great — then running feels less to me like an athletic pursuit and more like linear dancing. I sing along — mostly silently, I think. I play air drums. Shamelessly. Music, as far as I’m concerned, is as essential a fuel as carbohydrates, water, or that neon slime that comes in the tiny, bright envelopes.

What I learned last Thursday is that A) it is indeed technically possible to run without the Hold Steady, but it’s not much fun and I wouldn’t recommend it, and B) I make some terrible and disgusting noises while I’m running. My god. Never again do I want to hear all that panting and snorting and whatever the hell that was I was doing with my throat. I’m repulsive! So no more leaving the iPod in the car. No more forgetting to plug the dock in the night before. The French composer Claude Debussy said that music is actually the silence between the notes. Obviously, Debussy was not a runner.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Missoula Marathon to be Capped at 30,000

Alright it’s true: We don’t have 30,000 runners, nor do we expect 30,000 runners, but we’ll be very pleased when we have 3,000 runners (please notice we’re missing one entire zero here). After all, Missoula Montana is the kind of place you have to really want to get to. We don’t have flights zooming in and out with non-stops all day and night. We’re not particularly close to anything else, unless you call a 3 hour drive to Spokane with two passes “close.” If you go north you have to hit Calgary before you have anything really worth commenting on in regards to size, south it’s Salt Lake City, and east the biggest thing happening is Billings, Montana before traveling for days and eventually staggering into Minneapolis.

Now of course that’s also the appeal. Sure – we’re hard to get to. Just ask Lewis and Clark. They had to consume 7,000 calories a day just to get here. But once they did get here they liked it so much they left a few monuments and named some things, like the Lewis & Clark Taverns and Great Falls. Plus Lewis & Clark noticed – and you will too – that we’ve got hot springs all over the place out here. Very pleasant. You’ll like them. Not to mention Glacier National Park and the grandfather of them all – Yellowstone.

If you like driving, we are a direct line along I-90. If you just ran Boston you can start there and work your way this direction, never wavering far from the big fat I-90 line that ends in Seattle.

So back to our future race cap: our race numbers for the Missoula Half Marathon are more than double at this point, and the Marathon is 1 ½ times more. This does not put us in danger of reaching 30,000 runners yet, but we’re enthusiastic anyway.

Thank you for registering for the Missoula Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay or Missoula Kids Marathon! We look forward to seeing you this summer!

-Jennifer Straughan

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brian's Blog: The Neighborhood Dogs Can Smell Your Fear

Last Wednesday, I saw a medium-sized brown dog do a pretty amazing thing. I was somewhere near the middle of the pack as we headed up Greenough Drive. I don’t know what it is about the dogs along that street — if they’re just unaccustomed to pedestrian traffic or what — but you’d think we were all dressed in bacon. They go absolutely nuts. I was coming up on a split-level with a big, green yard. Behind a chain-link fence, two dogs sprinted back and forth, barking like their lives depended on it. I didn’t register the breeds, since I wasn’t paying much attention and have never been real good at it anyway. One of them was white, the other was brown, and both were roughly the size of a piece of carry-on luggage.

Suddenly, the brown dog executed a move that I’ve previously only seen in the Street Fighter II video game, a sort of bouncing leap that brought him briefly into contact with the side of the house before kicking off of it and somersaulting over the seven-foot fence. This happened just as I was passing the yard. And then he was out on the lawn, staring at me at me and my imaginary bacon shorts like a desperate convict who knows his time on the lam will be brief.

I think I said, “Oh shit.” Probably rather loudly, since my iPod’s usually cranked to 11 and I have little concept of the volume of my voice. But it happened right as I passed! I’m the kind of guy who gets excited when a streetlight goes on or off at the exact moment I walk underneath it. I assume, naturally, that the event had something to do with me. So surely there was some reason this dog vaulted the fence just as I came into his sight.

Then I remembered how the wolves in Yellowstone peruse the elk herds at chow time, scanning the whole group before identifying the weakest link, and only then taking off in pursuit. That was it, I thought. I’d skipped running the previous Friday to go to a reading and reception, skipped it Saturday to nurse a hangover, then skipped it Sunday on the pretense that it was Easter (though I actually spent the morning alone in my apartment, drinking coffee and reading magazines). This brown dog knew I’d schlepped off over the weekend, and now he’d picked me out as the weakest link I was about to be culled.

Turns out, though, that the dog was less like an escaped convict and more like a wimpy kid who sneaks off the playground at recess — suddenly liberated, but totally clueless as to how to handle it. The poor pooch just ran back and forth in place, barking at his partner on the other of the fence, oblivious to me and the other runners passing by.

It was a wake-up call all the same, though. A reminder to get back on my game. When the time came for us half-marathoners to peel off from the marathon crowd, I opted to follow the longer route instead. Turns out blending in with the marathoners is kind of easy — you just have to wear a look of steely determination all the time. It’s tough to get it across with an emoticon, but it would be something like: :>| And those extra few miles were just what I needed. I was already feeling more confident as we ran the last mile down Monroe Street, and sure enough, the neighborhood dogs didn’t even look up.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

One Step At A Time

Read Gwen Florio's story in Magazine about Mayor John Engen's weight loss triumph by participating in the Missoula Marathon:

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Get the Kids Involved in the Missoula Marathon

Wow - April 1st has come and gone and it's already time to start logging miles for the Missoula Kids Marathon. Registrations are slowly coming in, so if you haven't sent yours in yet, please mail it or drop it by The Runner's Edge. Most area elementary schools are participating by helping kids log miles through running clubs and some teachers are running with their classes. Ask about this at your school.

Remember, you can log miles by running, walking, hiking, swimming, or any continuous physical activity. Fifteen minutes of physical activity equals one mile! Mile tickets are online at the Missoula Marathon website and you can print them off and give them to your coaches to fill in to help you log miles.

Look for the schedule for "Moving with the Mayor" runs at local parks in the Missoula Parks and Recreation brochure recently distributed in The Missoulian. This will be a fun way to meet the mayor, log miles, and get to know your neighborhood park!

Run, Have Fun, Be Healthy!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Brian's Blog: New Habits, Old Friends

Editor's Note: This is the first post of Brian's Blog, by a participant of the Missoula Marathon Running Training Class. Brian will update you on his training until the Missoula Marathon on July 12, 2009.

I’m new to this. Not to running, per se. In fact, some of my earliest memories involve running-- on playgrounds, in department stores, away from the larger boys in middle school. But I’m new to organized running, to running in a strategic fashion that involves calendars and clinics and routes that have actually been planned in advance.

Six or so years ago, I signed up for a 5K fun-run in Minneapolis, a race dedicated to the memory of a recently passed uncle who was a devoted marathon runner. The following year I made a trip to International Falls, Minnesota, to write a magazine article about a 10K that bills itself as the coldest race in the continental US. (It turns out there’s some controversy over that claim, but at -43 degrees on race day in 2005, I gave them the benefit of the doubt.) Thereafter, I started running sporadically and without any real goal. Until signing up for the training class last month, I’ve always thought of running like I think of going to the movies or playing Monopoly—it’s just something to do, and if you do it more than four or five times a month...well, that’s just kind of weird.

It wasn’t until the third time I signed up for a short run that I actually wore shoes. At my uncle’s memorial 5K, I had worn Teva sandals, because they were the only footwear I had that weren’t boots. In International Falls, I wore the boots, because there were twenty-five inches of snow on the ground. Last year, I threw out a beloved pair of four-year-old, second-hand Reeboks on the grounds that, according to my ex-wife, they were both used up and ferociously ugly (for the record, they were neither). I bought a pair of Teva sneakers on eBay because they looked like the sort of thing I could both run in and wear out to dinner. Now I’ve been told it’s a bad idea to wear one’s street shoes during an intensive running program.

Which I don’t get. Training for a marathon (or in my case, a half-marathon) is both profound and personally demanding. And for something like that, you want an old friend by your side, right? Not a new friend. Not some friend who just came out of a box and smells like leather treatment. Buying new running shoes while training for a marathon seems like inviting the new kid to your lunch table right as you’re discussing whether to publicize your crush on Lori McBrier from algebra class. I mean, look buddy, you seem real nice-- and sure, maybe you are a better fit for my gait cycle-- but this is an important conversation, and right now I need to be with people I can trust.

So I guess I’ve got some things to figure out over the next couple months as the training class gets more intensive. What I do know is that I’m really enjoying it, much more than I thought I would. I’m even running the recommended distances on our non-meet-up days, which I had just planned on lying about. I think I’ll tough it out with my old pals the Tevas for the time being, but who knows? If I can learn to love running five days a week, maybe I can be coerced into making some new friends.

Where Do the Missoula Marathon Registration Fees Go?

Those of us associated with the Missoula Marathon are often asked about the registration fee and "where the money goes." I got asked again the other day, and decided to post my reply.

The Missoula Marathon has many causes that it supports. First and foremost, the Missoula Marathon is put on by Run Wild Missoula, the local non-profit 501(c)3 running club, and it is a fundraiser for that organization. The mission statement for Run Wild Missoula is to support walking and running for all ages and abilities, and the Missoula Marathon helps fund much of those efforts. Run Wild Missoula puts on many events for the community where we break even or lose money, and we also create events that are fundraisers for other non-profit organizations. The running club also does community projects, such as posting mile markers along running trails in Missoula. Run Wild Missoula also donates money to Missoula Youth Track, another non-profit organization, and other running related causes such as the Boston Training Group.

Additionally, the Missoula Marathon gives a percentage of the profits back to non-profit organizations that help us out on race day, including HARC the ham radio operators, Red Cross of Montana, Camp Mak-a-Dream and Opportunity Resources. Above and beyond that, we supported Missoula Youth Homes in their efforts to utilize our event as a fundraiser for their non-profit organization. They raised $40,000 last year and are excited about improving upon that this year. We encourage other non-profit organizations to do similar activities with our event.

We are only going into our third year and we have been very relieved and proud that our event has been able to cover its costs and have enough to get us going again the following year. A lot of this is because of the tremendous support this event receives community wide, as it is viewed as a community event -- not a running club event.

When you run the Missoula Marathon, please feel good about everything in this community to which you have just contributed.

Jennifer Straughan
Race Director

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Registration Up 28% for Missoula Marathon

The Missoula Marathon Committee is excited to announce that registration is up 28% over this same time last year. We've got 27 states represented and Bermuda! Yes, it's true that marathoners and especially half marathoners tend to wait until the last minute before committing with a registration form, but now that the Missoula Marathon is in its 3rd year, we're developing a respect for percentages. Percentages are how we calculate how many shirts to order, how much beverage to obtain, how many medals are needed, how many marathon athletes we will have in comparison to half marathon, and all the other questions that, the first year, were pretty much big fat guesses. Events that have been around forever must revel in their statistics, placing their orders well in advance of race day with confidence and accuracy. What's more, events with statistical history can observe trending, such as the growth of half marathon numbers. So thank you all for considering and even registering for the Missoula Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay or Kids Marathon. We're looking forward to another great year and growth!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Run Wild Missoula Training Class

Sunday, March 8th was the first day of the Run Wild Missoula Training Class for the Missoula Marathon or Missoula Half Marathon. Over 130 people signed up and ran their first training miles. This is the 3rd year of the class, sponsored by Runner's Edge, and it's grown every year. The first year there were 61 registrants, the second year 103 registrants, and we're still waiting for the final numbers, but there are currently 130+ registered for 2009. Many of the registrants are return trainees, which speaks to the excellence of Coach Anders Brooker and the training program. If you're looking for camaraderie, excellent information and motivation to train for the Missoula Half or Full Marathon, contact Anders at Runner's Edge, or call 728-9297. Or you can stop by the store in downtown Missoula, 327 North Higgins Avenue. Run Wild Missoula is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization.