Due to concerns surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the 2020 Missoula Marathon has officially been cancelled. This would have been 14th Missoula Marathon and it has never been cancelled before. Tony Banovich is the Executive Director of Run Wild Missoula and he said this was a very difficult decision, but one that had to be made.

“We get that it is a big economic driver for the community and it is painful for us to make that choice because we realize it is taking a seminal event away from the Missoula community this summer,” Banovich said. “It is terrible disappointing to us. We know it is terrible disappointing to the community and our local small businesses, but working with our medical director and our health department, we just could not see a way forward at this time to safely conduct the race.”

Banovich said he spoke to several people before making this final decision.

“I have spent a significant amount of time talking to our board of directors, our medical director, and the Missoula City-County Health Department,” Banovich said. “We have surveyed some of our volunteers and our race committee members. I have evaluated what everybody else has been doing in the race industry and nobody was comfortable, in any form, of bring thousands of people to Missoula in the end of June. Almost half of them would be from out of state.”

According to Banovich, postponing the race was not a viable option because there is no room on the calendar. Over 3,500 people already paid and were registered for this year’s race, but there are several options available for those folks.

“It will basically be comprised of a 50% refund on your entry fee, the opportunity to defer your race to next year, an option to participate in the race as a virtual participant, or the final option is to donate your race fees back to Run Wild Missoula,” Banovich said. “We will split those proceeds between Run Wild Missoula, Youth Homes, Opportunity Resources, and the Missoula Food Bank.”

Banovich expected the marathon to bring in an excess of $2 million to the Missoula community. During race weekend, restaurants, hotels, retailers, and breweries are usually packed. He said it is terribly disappointing that those millions of dollars will not be coming to Missoula this summer.