Missoula Marathon

Missoula Marathon

Missoula Marathon

( 100 reviews )
99% of reviewers recommend this race
  • Missoula,
    United States
  • June
  • 3 miles/5K, 13.1 miles/Half Marathon, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Virtual Race
  • Road Race
  • Event Website

Riley Fickett

Massachusetts, United States
15 60
"Race Review: Missoula Marathon 2022"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management
Riley Fickett's thoughts:

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Missoula Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave to review find and write race reviews!

I had the opportunity to run the 2022 Missoula Marathon and it is hands down the most beautiful marathon I have run to date! I am so glad I made the trip out to Missoula this summer. I've heard so many fantastic things about this race and they're all true. If you ever have the opportunity to run this race, definitely do it!

My day started bright and early - like 3:15 AM early! All marathoners and half marathoners have to head to the University of Montana campus be bused to their start lines, and each start line is different. I was told ahead of time to pay extra attention as to what bus you're getting on because if you got on the wrong bus there wasn't much that could be done if you ended up in the wrong location. One thing I would suggest for the future would be for there to be more signage or direction as to what was a marathon bus and what was a half marathon bus. While there was one or two volunteers directing runners to the correct buses, I think having that extra reassurance for which bus was which would have been so helpful!

I walked right onto a bus and there was really no wait before we were off to the start line. We had about a 15 minute bus ride to Frenchtown, MT where the start was. I arrived around 5:15 AM so had a good 45 minutes or so to wait. Luckily the area that we waited in was full of port-o-potties and plenty of space to complete a warm up. They were also giving out plenty of cups of water at the start, which was a nice touch. Every 15 minutes or so they would light off a firework to remind runners the time was getting closer to the start which also added to the atmosphere! Before we knew it, it was 5 minutes until the start, so I dropped off my gear bag and got in line!

One of the coolest parts of the start was that they set off a full blown fireworks show at 6 AM when the horn blew to start the race! It was still dark enough where we could enjoy the show and it was such an exciting send off for all of the runners. I loved that!

The first 10 miles or so was straight up farm land which was so beautiful. It was so pretty to see the sun rise over the landscape and to see all the cows and horses as we ran by. One thing to note that this section was particularly challenging for me to get into a good mental groove. The scenery stays consistent for all 10 miles, there's very little crowd support (if any!) and water stops are fairly infrequent (I believe the first one was mile 3ish). For this section I highly recommend ensuring you have plenty of your own nutrition and hydration, and be ready to get yourself in a good mental headspace to get you through those first 10 miles.

Once we hit mile 10, we saw more of the neighbors come out and aid stations became more frequent. This is also the part where we started to get some serious mountain views which were so breath taking. I think my favorite point in the race scenery-wise was miles 13-16. This is actually also the only hill you really experience the entire race as well! However the landscape you get to take in at this point makes the hill so worth it. You can look out to your left and see the M on Mount Sentinel from miles away which was so incredible. You just knew that in a matter of a few more hours you'll be right there in Downtown Missoula, celebrating your finish! Super motivating. I took so many photos and videos, but they just did not do the scenery justice. I would 100% do this race all over again solely for these views.

I think the hardest section of the race for me was miles 16-18. After we came back down the hill, my legs felt like they were in shambles. Not the way you want to feel when you have 10 more miles to go! However I took this as an opportunity to try to enjoy the scenery as much as I could and try to focus in on my fueling. There was also a piano player at mile 16.5 which was so cool to see in the middle of such a wooded area!

Around mile 18/19 the volunteers were handing out cold sponges which was so great. While it wasn't sweltering hot, the sun was out in full force which is always a game changer when it comes to racing. I stuck a sponge under my hat which felt really nice for a few miles!

Around mile 20 we started getting into the neighborhoods of Missoula which was so exciting, and definitely more my speed when it comes to races. I really feed off crowd energy, and the neighbors came out in full force to cheer on the runners! It was at this point in the race that I really perked up, and I felt the best I had felt all race starting from mile 21 through the rest of the race!

Coming into downtown Missoula at the finish was so incredible! Everyone was cheering so hard for every runner. As a more back of the pack runner, it's so nice for folks to bring the same energy to the folks that take longer to complete 26.2 miles. I hope those folks know how much they're appreciated!

When I finished I was able to grab my medal from my mom who was volunteering at the finish! That was such a special moment to get my medal from her. I so appreciate that she joined me on this trip and that she was a part of finishing this marathon. I will never forget that!!

Overall, the Missoula Marathon was an absolutely incredible experience. I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to run this race and I would absolutely love to run it again sometime in the future. If you ever have the chance to run Missoula, I would HIGHLY recommend that you do!! Thank you to the race team at the Missoula Marathon for making this such an unforgettable experience, and to BibRave for making this day possible for me!!

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