Runners looking for a PR or BQ usually pick flat, fast big events that have major airports and direct flights so they can train hard, get there, run, and get home. So here in Missoula we haven't been expecting hoards of professional and semi-professional runners to show up from elsewhere. However, as the Missoula Marathon has been taking root in our community, we've noticed that people seem to be getting faster. And running harder. And training more.
We've always been a pretty athletic bunch, but now that there's a marathon right here around which to wrap a goal, people have been stepping up big time. Local personal trainer Kiefer Hahn will be looking to run his sub 2:30 marathon this year and Jimmy Grant has been training hard so there's a competition worth watching between these two (who finished 1st and 2nd respectively in the marathon in 2009).
Last year we also had our first two sub 3-hour women marathon runners (one from our favorites -- the Marathon Maniacs -- and one from neighboring Spokane) and I bet we'll have more this year. We've been very fortunate that the Mountain West Track Club women have been here to set awesome times for the half marathon, and I believe that Casey Jermyn's time will go unmatched in the half for quite some time.
All this to say, the Missoula Marathon Committee's primary focus has been to make sure that when people come to the Missoula Marathon that -- faster or slower -- they have a great day. But it is fun to see people taking advantage of the event and we love it that we have such good competition in the full and half marathon events both from local participants and people who have chosen to come here from elsewhere to enjoy our event. So if you're extra fast and looking for some competition smack in the middle of the summer, you should find it here in Missoula on Sunday, July 11th!