Next weekend (March 14th & 15th) is a big weekend in the Big Sky Running Scene. With the first days of Spring just around the corner, the road racing season kicks off in a big way this year. We have no fewer than 7 (and possibly more) events around the state.
On Saturday, the weekend kicks off with the AOH St. Patrick's Day Race in Anaconda (possibly the granddaddy of the St. Patrick's Day runs - I remember doing this run during my college years in the early 1980's), the St. Patrick's Day Dash in Great Falls (a fund-raiser for the UGF XC and track teams), the Run To The Pub in Bozeman and the March Meltdown in Polson.
Sunday sees the Shamrock Run in Billings (the annual membership run of the Yellowstone Rim Runners), The St. Paddy's Day 5K in Missoula and the River Road Run in Plains (a fund-raiser for the Sanders County Cancer Network).
It's great that we have these opportunities in the State. But, from a racing perspective, it really creates a situation where the talent pool at any of the races becomes diluted. The race that is super fast and has the history of being quite competitive is the AOH Race in Anaconda. The 6-mile race is a net downhill with a prevailing tailwind. There have been some screaming fast times on this course over the last 25+ years. Check out the race history on the web site of Butte's Piss and Moan Runners - http://www.buttespissandmoanrunners.com
I would love to hang out at the Run for the Pub in Bozeman. Sounds like a lot of fun.
I'll always have a soft spot for the Shamrock Run in Billings. For 17 years it was the race that I used to open my racing season.
Whatever race you choose this year, I hope that you run hard, run fast and have fun. And, let's all hope for decent weather next weekend.
As for the Buzzard - he'll be at the March Meltdown in Polson. All things being equal, he would have loved to have gone to Anaconda for the AOH race. But, family and travel committments will keep him a bit closer to home this year.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard