This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Montana was my 22nd state.
Ah, Missoula, Montana. I have fond memories of you. The Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon is in July, which means while much of the US is sweltering, it is quite comfortable here. I have to admit, I broke a cardinal rule of running races here. I had only brought shorts (no pants) with me for this race but a cold front suddenly came in and they were predicting temps in the low 40’s the morning of the race, so I found a local running store and bought the last pair of running capris they had in stock, which a kind sales lady dug out from the back store room. The race was the next day so I had never worn these before let alone run in them, but it was either that or freeze my buns off. Everyone tells you to never wear anything you’ve never ran in at least once during a race, and I had always followed this to the letter. However, buying those capris turned out to be a good decision and I was glad I had the extra coverage to help keep me warm.
From this race forward, I always make sure I pack running pants, shorts, capris, short sleeved tops, and long sleeved tops for every race, no matter where because as I learned here, the weather can be very unpredictable. I know some of you may be thinking, “40 degrees is actually quite nice for a race,” but where I live, we don’t see temperatures that low until winter is nearing or in full force; certainly not in July. I just wasn’t used to running in temperatures that low.
The Missoula Half Marathon of 2011 was one of my favorites for the scenery, the people, and the course. This race does have a 6 am start so if you’re not an early morning person, that could be an issue. I think it helps with the temperatures, though. At the start it’s usually around mid 50’s (although as I said for me it was only in the low 40’s) and up to the high 70’s around noon. The course is very scenic and fairly flat, taking you though the countryside, along a river, and finishing in downtown Missoula.
There are a couple of bonuses including with this race. The renowned Olympian runner Jeff Galloway began a partnership with Run Wild Missoula in January 2011 to promote the Missoula Marathon and Half Marathon. Every year since then he has given numerous talks, hikes, and even a 3 hour running school the weekend of the Missoula Marathon. Another bonus is you get a free race day victory stand photo (printed out for you) at the Sunday Expo at the Caras Park Pavilion as well as a link after the race to download an on-course photo free of charge.
After the race, my family and I went to Glacier National Park and from there to Banff National Park in Canada. I highly recommend both parks, in addition to Missoula. The mountains and lakes are absolutely stunning and these are some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. This race is a nice opportunity to make it into a racecation.
From my post-race notes:
“Ran past a river, past rural areas, and finished downtown. Course was great- mostly flat, some downhill, and a small uphill. Weather was upper 40’s at start, but I warmed up after first couple of miles. Sunny, almost no wind. Aid stations were plenty. Got a nice medal, technical shirt, and a photo printed out at the finish. Plenty of food and drink at finish. Was still struggling with speed while training for race due to recent anemia Oklahoma-21st state but was happy with finish time. Was a great race overall and one of my favorites. My finish time was 2:16:53.”