MISSOULA – The Missoula Marathon is right around the corner.
The race is in its 12th year and on Sunday runners will be heading through the heart of Missoula. The event continues to grow and has become nationally recognized.
The group Run Wild Missoula created the idea of the Missoula Marathon a dozen years ago so that runners could experience the area’s beauty and unique feel.
The race has now become a popular destination — earning best marathon from Runners World in 2010 and named a top 10 Bucket List marathon in
“The setting we’re in. I mean where else do you get to run where you’re surrounded by 360 degrees by mountains? You know, we’ll still have snow on Lolo Peak," said Missoula Marathon director Tony Banovich.
While the marathon isn’t nearly as big as the major ones like the Boston or New York, it does has runners coming to Missoula from near and far — and they say it ranks up there with the best
The locals love the race. Sharon Sterbis has run is all 11 marathons and will be running in number 12 this year,
"For me, it’s like I run marathons all over the country and it’s my favorite course by far because it’s just got the right balance of everything to look at," Sterbis said. "It’s got fantastic support so you don’t need to worry about getting water," said Tom Perri, a marathon runner from Minneapolis.
Each year the race continues to grow in numbers and popularity, but one thing that stands out from this marathon is the community commitment to the race.
“From even the stores to the volunteers to the spectators to the medical to the race director, everyone cares about the runners. All the volunteers care about the runners. The neighborhoods care. If it’s hot out, they’ll put the sprinklers out [and] put extra water is out or Gatorade," Banovich said.
Looking forward to the future, Banovich doesn’t see a reason why we won’t be someday celebrating a 50th Missoula Marathon.
“As long as we keep doing things the right way I think we can continue to get people here. As they get here, we’ll continue to move on and yeah 25, 30, 40, 50 — who knows?” Banovich continued.
KPAX and CW Montana are your sources for complete Missoula Marathon coverage Sunday morning. We’ll be live from the finish line starting at 8 a.m. on CW Montana plus a live stream on our website.