The first two big events of 2012 are in the books (Montana Men's Master's Mile & Snow Joke 1/2-Marathon). And, if those two races are any indication, we have a hot year of racing ahead of us in the Big Sky state.
The M4 gave us the first ever sub-4:30, the first ever 50+ at sub-5:00 (2 total in that race), and 12 total guys under 5:00 in the race.
The Snow Joke saw deep, competitive racing in both the men's open and master's races. In the open race, Missoula's Jimmy Grant had his traditional successful opening race of the year as the 3-time defending champ made it 4-in-a-row. But, it wasn't easy. His 1:16:04 was just 15 seconds ahead of 2011 MT Cup champ Chris Collar of Missoula. Then, just another six seconds back to Seth Swanson at 1:16:25.
After a bit of a gap, their was a chase to the finish to decide 4th versus 5th places as John Cuddy at 1:20:12 just held off the 1:20:22 of Jeremy Wolf.
The men's master's race wasn't much different. Scott Gaiser of Kalispell defended his 2011 title with an 18 second victory over Scott Marron of Missoula (1:28:19 to 1:28:37). Next in were Jim Murphy in 1:28:44 and Joel Sather (Noxon) of 1:29:01. (That means the top four all within 42 seconds of each other). The top 5 was rounded out by Ted Burnham in 1:30:59.
Trisha Miller, not long off her win at the PF Chang's Marathon in early January, won for the 3rd time in 4 years at 1:25:45. The top 3 included Mailee Woyth at 1:32:07 and 1:32:35.
The women's master's title went to Renate Bush in 1:46:01.
Now, it's just a few weeks until the flurry of St. Patrick's day races kick off the full-fledged racing season. Can't wait to see some folks kickin' assphalt this year.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard