12 Facts You Didn’t Know About the Missoula Marathon
Missoula Marathon Week is here in Western Montana, with thousands of runners arriving, or locals gearing up, for the big races this coming weekend.
But did you know the race dates are already set for next year? And the year after that? What will the runners get in their "swag bags" this year? And are there still records to fall?
Read on for some Missoula Marathon facts.
What's the schedule for this year?
Basically the same as in years past. Things kick off with the free Beer Run and Runner Expo on Friday night. Saturday is the Tony Banovich 5k, the Kid's Marathon, and the continuation of the Runner Expo. Sunday's Half and Full Marathons run concurrently.
You can already plan for next year's races
Sure. In fact, the races for the next three years are already scheduled. In 2024 the Marathon will be on June 30th, June 29th in 2025, and June 28, 2026.
Where do most runners come from?
Washington typically sends the most and led the early registration a couple of months ago with nearly 400 runners. That's followed by Idaho, California, and Texas.
How many aid stations does it take?
It takes a lot to keep those thousands of runners going. There are 14-aid stations for the marathon and 8 for the half marathon, spaced about 2-to-3 miles along the early part of the race, and about 1 mile apart after the 10k mark. Runners can grab Powerade from the 1st table and water from the second. They can also get Cliff Shot Gel in strawberry if they need a hit of caffeine and vanilla without the extra go juice.
Can you still qualify for the Boston Marathon running in the Missoula race?
The Missoula Marathon is a USATF-certified course and organizers provide the Boston Athletic Association with the local race results.
The number of racers are capped each year
Depending on the race, there are some limits to make sure everyone has a good experience. 1,500 runners can be in the Tony Banovich 5k and the full marathon. Up to 3,000 people can enter the half-marathon.
The course records could be set any year
While some of the course records have been challenged in recent runnings, some have been steady for a few years. Matthew Adams holds the men's full marathon record of 2:20:27 set in 2014, but local favorite Mark Messmer has been within seconds of beating that mark twice, in 2019, and again last summer.
Bonnie Keating set the new women's full marathon record last year at 2:46;36. Current Race Director Trisha Drobeck holds the next three marks, set in 2015, 2016, and 2012.
Here's what's in those "swag bags"
Finishers in the full and half marathons receive a short sleeve technical tee, a gear bag, a medal, and free race photos. For the 5k, it's a poly-cotton blend tee shirt and a medal showing they finished.
Headphones and music are frowned upon
Marathon organizers "strongly discourage" the use of music devices and earbuds or earphones because of safety because they want to make sure you can hear race directions, warnings from overtaking racers, and traffic near the course. And if runners are looking for prize money, you CAN'T wear earbuds under the USATF rules.
Race weather is much better than it used to be
The decision was made a couple of years ago to shift the race from mid-July back to late June to avoid the heat, and that's worked. Race temps range from the upper 40s to low 50s at the start, and in the low to mid-70s by mid-day.
There are time limits
The full, and half marathon courses actually close at 1:30 pm, allowing racers 7-and-a-half hours to finish. If it's taking longer, runners are asked to move from the street back to the sidewalks.
The marathon has several ways to track your runners
READ MORE: How to help with the Missoula Marathon