A busy weekend on the road racing scene - at least if you live in western Montana. This weekend in Missoula, there are no fewer than 5 events. The Grizzly Man Adventure race (a few of you sickos out there my be partaking in this suffer fest), the Superfun(d) Run (Bonner) and the Target Range Family Fun Run will all take place on Saturday.
The Superfun(d) Run is a new race this year; but, promises some new challenges and scenery for the Missoula area runners what with all the trail, bridge and access changes that have happened in the last couple of years at the Bonner/Milltown supefund site.
On Sunday, Missoula will host the North Avenue Road Mile and the gASPing for Air Run.
Also on Sunday will be the Summit Classic in Kalispell (which has been the site of some fast performances in the past) and the Run For The Earth 5K in Bozeman.
But, the big news for Montana runners (at least 62 of them) will come on Monday at the Boston Marathon. Missoula (17 runners), Bozeman (16) and Billings (12) lead the way with participants from the state.
And, we have some people who could turn in some solid performances. First and foremost is Sara Graves of Ballantine. Sara just missed out on qualifying (by less than a minute) for the 2008 Oly Trials Marathon. But, her performances of the last couple of years have garnered her a 2nd chance to line up with the elite women at Boston. She'll be wearing bib F32 - that means she get the special bus ride to the start, warm-up area in the church at the starting line, access to the VIP tent post-race - all the perks of being a studette. Now, for the real challenge - can she have the fastest time for a Montanan at the race?? It's possible.....................
But, she'll have to battle with Steve Bruner and Matt Edwards of Bozeman. Both have drawn low bib numbers and will be starting out the first corral.
On the master's side, Brian Fruit and Dan Lipp of Missoula are both ready to roll. They've had a solid training group in Missoula all winter. I've had the opportunity to run a few track workouts with these guys in the last couple of months; and, they are in good shape. Sub-3:00 is probable, 2:45 range isn't out of reach.
Finally, I also know that Tim Brooker (he of Runner's Edge fame) is also ready to go. As a 58-year old, he should still be one of the top 5 - 8 runners from the state. Like Dean and Brian, Tim has had some solid, focused training with the Missoula group and he is in shape.
The race will be broadcast on www.universalsports.com. You can also get updates and tracks the runner's progress at www.bostonmarathon.org.
Have a great weekend everyone. For those race this weekend - run fast and run hard.
For those heading to Boston - enjoy. It's an amazing experience.
As for the Buzzard - I'll be at the UM volunteering as a finish timer at the UM Open track meet on Saturday.
Well, got to get out the door. Going to head into Missoula tonight (and get the chance to see Dave Coppock); and, on such a glorious day, want to take advanatge of the blue skies and warm temps and hit the trails of Missoula for my run today.
The Muddy Buzzard