Since the announcement that the Missoula Marathon was voted Best Overall Marathon by the readers of Runner’s World, we have been bombarded with questions of whether the marathon still has room for more runners. The short answer is “you betcha.”
When the Missoula Marathon Committee first met nearly four years ago, it had five members with a simple goal of hosting a marathon in our lovely city. Back then we did not concern ourselves with such sticky questions as a cap on participants or strict registration deadlines. But with the Runner’s World designation, these issues have come to the forefront. Quite frankly, we do not know the precise impact the Runner’s World award will have on the marathon, but Bart Yasso told us that in his experience races can attract three to five times more runners when they get this kind of exposure. We can tell you that our registration numbers are up already, and we are anxiously awaiting the spring application glut.
But we are here to reassure you that there will be room for you in the Missoula Marathon, whatever growth we experience.
Fortunately, none of us think small in the first place, so from the beginning we did our best to develop a course that fits a lot of bodies, have starting areas that accommodate a lot of Sweet Pea toilets, and a finish area that welcomes large masses of athletes and the contingency of family and friends that accompany those athletes.
So when we heard of this award we made some important phone calls to make sure the Missoula Marathon stays a favorite among its runners:
1. Beer... you already read that blog about this. But if you haven’t, we are happy to tell you that we have persuaded Big Sky Brewery to provide us with its awesomely delicious Moose Drool beer for the after-race party.
2. Hotels. Yep, our own Missoula Convention and Visitor's Bureau Executive Director assured us that if we can fit all the people into our little burg who want to see the Rolling Stones when they rocked us a couple of years ago, we can certainly accommodate all of you athletes and your friends and family with rooms in Missoula and the surrounding area..
3. Sweet Pea Toilets. Since our event is at the height of the summer, otherwise known as construction season in any community with long winters, it occurred to us to check the toilet vendor. Don’t worry. We have lots and lots of toilets at the start and finish line… and a plenty along the route for good measure.
4. Good Food Store post-race athlete food. Layne Rolston, Communications Director at the Good Food Store and an accomplished runner himself, attended the Yasso announcement and he has assured us that you will continue to have the best post-race food an athlete can wish to have at the end of a long race – Good Food Store yummies.
5. Flights into Missoula. Well, you're on your own there. The airline industry doesn't consider us a major destination. Definitely not a hub. Definitely the Rock and Roll Marathon industry won't be looking at Missoula for their next addition to the chain. However, when you do fly into Missoula you'll be in a small, friendly airport that doesn't require a subway to get to the baggage claim. And you can get downtown in 15 minutes. We promise.
6. Finally, we have already arranged to have as many buses as we need to transport you to the starting lines in Frenchtown and Blue Mountain Road. On time.
In summary, The Missoula Marathon is thrilled that runners have named us best overall marathon in the country. And we are here to assure you that we intend to live up to (or exceed) the expectations you runners have for us. So, This is our way of saying, Bring it On. There is no cap on the number of runners, and there is no to register in a panic. We will let you run; and we will take care of you. In short, we're ready for you. Come to Missoula and Run, Play and Stay.