Year number 4, and the Missoula Marathon continues to be among the standard bearers for excellence in running events in Montana. Having won the 2009 Runner's World Reader Survey as Best Overall Marathon in America, the event almost doubled in size this year - from 2300+ runners to about 4200. In spite of the rapid rise in participants, the race still kept a great "hometown" feel. Great energy, great excitement, great times. Now - on to the Buzzard's thoughts from the race.
Great peformances in both the full and half marathon.
Meg Lerch with a new CR in the women's open half at 1:22:24.
Debbie Gibson with a new CR for the women's master's marathon at 3:15:26
All 4 open winners (men's and women's full and 1/2) from Missoula.
Men's and Women's Master's full marathon winners from Helena.
Great to have a race of this size and competitive level with a bunch of home grown talent.
Jimmy Grant continue's his hot running year with a 1:11:10 half marathon win (just one week after a 1:13:15 to win the Twin Cities Red, White and Boom 1/2).
The performances of the day however came on the men's side. Both of these runs were impressive enough that they equal billing from the Buzzard.
Keifer Hahn wins his 3rd Missoula Marathon (and defends his 2009 title) in a new course record 2:30:37. A 2:40 improvement on his record from last year and oh so close to the first sub-2:30 in Montana in over 20 years. He went out hard (1:13:11 at the half), was never challenged and won by just under 11 minutes. It was a great performance.
Equally impressive - Kyle Strode's 2:47:00 to win the master's race and place 4th overall and beats the master's record by 7:50. Beats a great master's field that saw 6 guys under 3:00. Kyle Litton (not sure of hometown)(2:49:07), Mike Telling of Dillon (2:50:43) and Scott Gaiser of Kalispell (2:54:20) were all under the old record as well.
I do have to aplogize to Kyle. I had missed him when he first came in. We were having some computer problems and he got "lost" in the crowd of 1/2 marathoners. I saw Telling come in and assumed that he was the first master and gave him credit for the new record. A few minutes later I saw Kyle in the finish area, he signed to me his time and it became clear that I had some back pedalling to do.
Seeing the Higgins Bridge completely full with spectator's and runners for a couple of hours from about 1:30 into the race until about 4:00 into the race.
Seeing the crowd go ape shit as a big group of runners cranked over the bridge and just made it under the 4:00 barrier.
Trisha Miller wins the women's marathon at just over 3 hours (3:02:22) and blows kisses to the crowd as she crosses under the line.
Hearing the crowd noise when 83-year old Bob Hayes comes into the finish line.
Watching almost 1500 marathons head out in the early morning sunrise and fill the road for about 100 meters behind the start line as the UM ROTC cannon blast breaks the morning silence.
Getting a chance to hang out wit a bunch of runner's over the weekend and visiting with lots of friends at the expo on Saturday.
Working on a new personal tradition of marking the course late on Saturday night with Anders Brooker and his uncle Jay.
The excitement as Fran Gilday came across the line. This was Fran's 50th state in which she finished a marathon. A goal she first started working on in 1983. She had a support crew of about a dozen folks, all dressed in red, coming over the bridge with her.
There were just so many great stories during the course of the weekend - it really helps a guy to stay in love with the sport after spending a weekend like that.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard