Mostly a day of congratulations.
First off - kudos to my friend Anders Brooker. As owner of the Runner's Edge in Missoula, Anders (with lots of help from dad Tim and mom Carol) has generated a whole different vibe in the western Montana running community. If there's a running event in the Missoula area (including Ravalli, Mineral and Sanders counties) Anders and the Runner's Edge probably has some involvement in the run.
And, when it comes to adding some excitement to downtown Missoula through events like the Missoula Marathon and The Roots Run, Anders is a key cog to making that happen. For all those efforts (and for his general support of downtown Missoula), the Missoula Downtown Association awarded Anders the 2009 Downtowner of the Year award. Great Job Anders!!!!
Second - Alan King and Jim Brewer (XC/Track coaches at Rocky Mountain College and University of Great Falls respectively) put together the Battlin' Bear Half Marathon on Friday, January 22nd. The purpose of the race was to provide an opportuntiy for the RMC and UGF runners to qualify for the NAIA National Championships Marathon (to be held as part of the NAIA Outdoor Track Championships in May in Marion, Indiana). The race was run largely on the Montana Marathon 1/2 Marathon Course along Rimrock Road from the Molt hills to the campus of Rocky Mountain College.
In spite of the slippery conditions that came about as the leading edge of major snowstorm was descending upon Billings, 3 athletes made the standards. On the men's side, Shane Donaldson of UGF (and a graduate of Thompson Falls HS and a past competitor at the NAIA XC Championships) took the win in 1:15:37. Second behind Donaldson was RMC Noah Kiprono (native of Kenya) in 1:16:29. Both made the "B" standard of 1:16:40. And, based on past year's, it's expected that this will be adequate to allow both to run in the championships.
On the women's side, RMC studdette Amber Watson was way, way under the "A" standard of 1:33:00. Running just over 6:30 pace, Amber hit the line at 1:25:49. This continues Amber's rise to the elite level of NAIA athletics as she has now qualified for the XC, indoor track and outdoor track championships this year.
So, kudo's to Alan, Jim, Shane, Noah and Amber. What a great thing to see a couple of local coaches who are so willing to provide these types of opportunities for their athletes.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard