So, on the 23rd they held a little thing called the Snow Joke 1/2 Marathon (for the 29th time) up in Seeley Lake. Haven't heard any feedback on what the conditions were like, but it looks like they had a really good turnout.
The men's top 5 were:
Robert Brooks - 1:17:28 (Missoula Sentinel senior, just signed with Univeristy of Great Falls)
Satchmo Bassetti - 1:19:14 (If I knew he ran long races, would have thought this was Ray Hunt)
Brandon Fuller - 1:19:39
Matty S. - 1:19:48
Jake Roske - 1:21:23
1st Masters - Scott Gaiser - 1:23:16
A few other notables:
John Cuddy - 1:27:14
Brian Wieck - 1:28:08
Anders Brooker - 1:28:48
Obviously a solid race for 2nd through 4th.
On the women's side it was:
Julie Gilebrist - 1:32:29 (also first masters)
Jamie Schuster - 1:32:55 (:26 seconds out of 1st overall)
Jessica Johnson - 1:36:02
Maureen Hartmann - 1:36:27
Kim Joyner-O'Conner - 1:36:37
Other notable women =
Megan Lerch - 1:46:11
Jennifer Thomas - 1:46:50
Again, some really tight racing for the top spots.
Obviously a lot of representation from the Missoula area at this great kick off to the road racing season.
Next up is another of the classic Montana road races that has also been around for well over 20 years. The Locker Room Bar AOH (Ancient Order of the Hibernians) St. Patrick's Day race in Anaconda (on the 8th). Back in the day, this used to be a great party day. We would race our guts out, then hit the post-race keg, then hang out in the bar for a few more hours and play pool and drink a few pitchers of brew.
It's a race than can be super fast. It's generally aided by a trail wind; and, after the first mile or so, it's a slight downhill course. If you're at all fit and have your legs under you, there's a PR waiting with your name on it.
It's also the site of one of my favorite post race stories. A few year's ago I had the chance to travel from Billings to run the race for the first time in many years. As I was hanging around the finish area after the race, an older lady from Anacondo cane into the chute. She proclaimed to a man waiting for her at the end of the chute - "There's my favorite person - waiting for me with a beer and a smoke!" And sure enough - she crossed the line, chugged a 12-oz go cup, lit up a cig and took a long drag. Only in Anaconda (or maybe Butte).
The weekend following are the St. Paddy's races in Great Falls, Missoula and Billings.
Make sure to check out runmt.com to see what's coming up on the racing scene.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.