Run Wild Missoula: Executive Director: 2015 Missoula Marathon Weekend!
Missoula Marathon: Corporate Challenge
Missoula Marathon: Community Clean Up
River City Roots Run: August 29
Sweathouse Half Marathon: September 12
View From The Back: Cheering For The BOP
View From The Back: Courage to Start Award - Rebekah Little
Around Town
Every Tuesday, 6:00 p.m. Dornblaser Track 

Sweathouse Half Marathon, 
September 12 



August  2015
Run Wild Missoula Executive Director: 2015 Missoula Marathon Weekend!
by Tony Banovich, Executive Director


That's about the best I can do to sum up the 2015 Missoula Marathon weekend - WOW!!!

I'm finding it hard to come up with words to otherwise describe how incredible it was to be race director for the first time for this amazing weekend of events.  


But, I knew that things were going to be good when I looked out over the atrium of the Holiday Inn and saw hundreds of people getting ready to head out for the Friday night Beer Run.

And, when the drizzle and rain started to fall Saturday morning, any and all worries about smoke and heat went away. Once the starting gun fired for the 5K, it seemed as though the rest of the weekend flowed along smooth as silk.

But, you know, none of that happens by accident. It takes an incredible team to successfully pull off an event like this. Run Wild Missoula has a small, but great staff. The marathon committee has more than 30 folks who spend time all year long considering and planning all of the race details. Our board of directors is incredibly supportive and makes sure that we have the resources we need to make this a first class event. Our local agencies (City, County, State, University, etc.) recognize the value of this event to our community and they are great to work with. We also have sponsors who come back year after year to help make sure that we can provide the runner amenities that make our weekend so special.

And, finally, the volunteers. More than 700 volunteers filled approximately 850 positions. How do 700 people fill 850 positions?  Well, many of our volunteers took care of 2, 3 or more positions over the weekend. We also had people from 10 states besides Montana who pitched in. That's commitment, through and through.

Honestly - the Missoula Marathon doesn't happen without all of the folks mentioned above. I am truly honored, humbled and inspired by all of the hard work that is done by so many people to make our event such a success. And I realize that it's all worth it when I read the post-race emails, Facebook posts and Tweets by our participants. They can't say enough good things about our race amenities; community support; cheerful volunteers; course beauty; bus shuttles; organization; expo; medals, etc.; etc.; etc.

Each and every member of Run Wild Missoula should be proud of the Missoula Marathon. It is our signature event and the event that has put us on the map. We're becoming known across the country as one of the best marathons that there is. Not just in Montana. Not just in the Northwest. Not just west of the Mississippi. But, one of the best in the entire country.

When I think about such a fantastic event in our small little community by the river - again, all I can say is WOW!!!  

Missoula Marathon: Corporate Challenge
by Tony Banovich, Executive Director
One of the events that gets lost in the shuffle a little bit during the excitement of marathon weekend is the corporate challenge. The corporate challenge is a tool that allows local companies to encourage their employees to get started on a fit, active lifestyle - using the Missoula 5K on marathon weekend as their end goal. It goes right to the heart of one of Run Wild Missoula's Core Values - Creating a community of runners and walkers that promotes a fit, active and healthy lifestyle.

For 2015, we had 302 runners and walkers from 24 different companies participate. The largest single company represented was the University of Montana with 58 participants - followed by Providence Medical Group (also a Gold Level Sponsor of the Marathon); Consumer Direct Family of Companies; and Washington Corporation. (Other Washington companies participating included Envirocon, Modern Machinery, and Montana Rail Link.)

For many of these participants, it was their first ever race. For others, it was a great way to get back into a program and meet their fitness goals. All in all, it's a great way for Run Wild Missoula to encourage local growth of our sport and to help others in our community work their way into Missoula's active, outdoor lifestyle.
Missoula Marathon: Community Clean Up
by Tony Banovich, Executive Director
Did you know that the Missoula Marathon works hard to keep our community a little bit cleaner?  On the Sunday before the marathon, almost 20 volunteers were out on the course cleaning up from Frenchtown to Blue Mountain; and, on S. 7th Street. We picked up over 100 bags of garbage along the course, plus lots of miscellaneous trash like car tires, a cooler, lumber scraps, a few dead animals (gross), a bag of rotting meat (grosser still), chunks of Styrofoam and countless cigarette packages.  

Following along behind the race, a crew from the Missoula Sentinel cross country team picks up bags and bags of cups, sponges and gel packs from along the course. Enough to fill up a significant portion of a large UHaul truck.

Then, on the Thursday following the race, another group of 15 volunteers went to the areas around each and every one of the aid stations to make sure that we hadn't missed any gel packs, cups, sponges or other random garbage.

Why all this effort? Well, we believe in the Leave No Trace mantra and we need to be responsible for the waste that we generate. We want all of the visitors to our community to see a nice clean course. Plus, it's just the right thing to do.

Hand in hand with that are our recycling efforts at the marathon expo and the finish line. Republic Services donated a large recycling dumpster; and, we were able to fill it with cardboard and plastic bottles from the weekend.

We may not be perfect; and, we're not quite carbon or waste neutral yet. But, we're getting closer and we're doing our best to be responsible in our waste and recycling management.
River City Roots Run: August 29 
by Nick Lockridge, Race Director
One of the biggest sports weekends of the year is drawing ever closer. The River City Roots race, which accompanies the fabulously-popular Downtown Missoula music festival of the same name, is slated for Saturday, Aug. 29 at 9:30 in the morning. The two-day festival, which will celebrate its 10th year of operation this summer, is moving to a Friday-Saturday format to make room for the University of Montana's first football game of the season against North Dakota State later that day. 
The four-mile run has a few minor changes this year, but will still feature portions of downtown Missoula, the lower Rattlesnake, and the scenic views of the Clark Fork River along its route. Run Wild Missoula members are encouraged to register for the race early to secure a spot in the event, which set a participation record last year with more than 400 runners. The starting location is on Alder Street near the site of Saturday's Farmers' Market. 

The River City Roots race costs RWM members $21 during the early sign-up period, but jumps to $28 on Aug. 15. Non-members pay $23 and $30, respectively. The perks of the race remain the same: runners get a T-shirt, commemorative drink cup and beer coupon--if the individual is 21 years or older. Please join us for an amazing celebration in the streets of Missoula!

For more information on the race or to volunteer please look up the RWM website at or contact race co-director Nick Lockridge at The race still needs more volunteers, so come be a part of one of the best weekends of 2015!

Sweathouse Half Marathon: September 12
by Paul Rosen,  Race Director
The Sweathouse Half Marathon will be held in lovely Victor Montana on September 12th, 2015. This is a great little race to put on the calendar to keep you motivated through the summer!
The loop course starts and finishes in Victor Park and follows gravel and paved roads through a scenic area of the Bitterroot Valley. The Sweathouse Half-Marathon is the only Run Wild event to take place outside of Missoula county. Awards and celebration at Cowboy Troy's after the race. Check out the Run Wild Missoula website for more race information and registration
View From The Back: Cheering For The BOP
by Pam Gardiner,  Leader of the Back (of the Pack)
BOP color-black
Shortly after Run Wild Missoula initiated a Back of the Pack group, we looked for ways to improve the Missoula Marathon experience for slower runners and walkers. The course time limit for the marathon was, at that time, 6.5 hours. Most runners and spectators were gone before the last hour's finishers crossed the line. Snacks were depleted. The take-down crew was in full swing. 

Four years later, conditions have changed. Significant effort by the Missoula Marathon committee has created a race that welcomes and rewards every finisher. One of the most visible components of that effort is a squad of volunteers known as the BOP (Back of Pack) Cheerleaders. This year, forty people converged on the finish line late in the race and cheered for the final two hours of the marathon. The following are excerpts from responses of cheerleaders who were asked to report on their experience this year.

GR: (It was) inspirational watching people coming in after running for 6 or 7 hours, still smiling, waving & excited about meeting their goal!

PO: Near the very end a fellow crested the bridge and we all could visibly see the change in his face and demeanor. When he saw us cheering him in, exhausted as he was, he straightened up a bit, got a smile on his face, quickened his exhausted pace, crossed the finish line happy, and happy we were there for him.

JH: It was such a wonderful community moment for the BOP. It felt like we improved the race experience for the late finishers.  Essentially we were giving them an experience equal to the winners. (Aren't we all winners by finishing?)

TT: As a first time volunteer, I was so incredibly inspired by the 60-80 age group- their determination and grit to run the entire marathon and the joy on their faces as they crossed the finish line--this simply blew me away.

LT: There's nothing like cheering someone on to their finish. The sheer emotion on each runner's face gave us a glimpse into the race's meaning for them.  Anders, Pat or Courtney added details when they announced the runner's name and their story. It was incredibly special to share in a little bit of their victory without even knowing them.  Being a BOP Cheerleader allowed me to not only run my race (half), but also have dedicated time to cheer other runners onto their finish.  The best of both worlds! There's something magical seeing a smile appear on a runner's face knowing that there's a cheering section just for them. They are not alone. These moments are magical not only for the runner, but also for those of us who cheered them on. 

RM: I love being part of the BOP cheerleading squad!  I know firsthand what it is like to come in at 6 hours and find a ghost people and no food (I got a dried up bagel!) It is a wonderful feeling now, knowing you will have cheerleaders and food!!  Thanks RWM for supporting the BOP!" 

JB: My favorite is first time marathoners. It is so empowering to hear the announcer ask a runner coming towards the finish line if this is their first marathon and then watch the runner's hands shoot up into the air triumphantly as they nod yes. More often than not, this is followed by the runner's eyes filling with tears of joy, and our eyes filling too.
View From The Back: Courage to Start Award - Rebekah Little
by Gwen Florio, Leader of the Back (of the Pack)
It's generally accepted that some of the best stories from any race can be found as those in the back of the pack cross the finish line. There, you find people who've battled illness, injuries, weight, every personal demon you can imagine. Their successful finishes are rightfully celebrated.
Run Wild Missoula thinks something else should be celebrated: The gutsiness it took those people to take that first step, as slow-running advocate John "The Penguin" Bingham notes in his book, "The Courage to Start."

Each month, Run Wild members nominate runners they find particularly inspirational when it comes to that sort of courage. Nominees are interviewed about why they started - and why they keep running. We think you'll find their answers as uplifting as we do.

This month's nominee is Rebekah Little, 38, of Missoula, who last month completed the Mountain to Meadow Half-Marathon, her first. Here, she details what led to her achievement.

When did you start running and whyI started running in February of 2014. I'd never run in my life but I found the courage to start. I remember my first "runner's high." I pushed myself through my first two and a half miles and suddenly began to beam and even laugh out loud. I have fallen passionately in love with running. I had no idea how much joy and fulfillment running would bring me.

What motivates you Amazement! I'm amazed by the capability of both my body and mind. I can do hard things.

You've achieved an astounding weight loss - and kept it off. Are there any parallels between achieving a weight loss goal and a running goal
I was miraculously blessed with the opportunity to have bariatric surgery in 2012 and have lost 115 pounds! I changed my relationship with food. Albert Einstein defined insanity as, "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."   Permanent results require permanent changes. Through the process of mental and physical change I found astounding strength within my little body. The process of change requires continued focus on my goal. I encounter choices throughout the day to eat or not eat the cookie and, similarly I make the choice each day to put one foot in front of the other and run out the door. 

What was it like to achieve your first half-marathon WOW! "She believed she could so she did."

Do you think you'll keep running, and whyAbsolutely I'll continue to run throughout my lifetime, because I CAN and I WILL!

Anything else you'd like to addI have recently realized running is not a luxury though I thoroughly enjoy the experience. Running is a necessity. It nourishes and rejuvenates my body, mind and spirit. Running fulfills my desire to move forward in a literal sense and also figurative. Starting my run with a plan to complete a specific goal and make it back home is personally symbolic. The act of running is essentially the struggle of a lifetime. It's a worthy struggle.   Running is an outward demonstration of my physical, mental and spiritual strength and perseverance. Completing a run provides me with affirmation and validation. I CAN run. I AM strong. I'VE done the work and I AM transformed. Running has changed my life and the lives of my family. The release of endorphins while running has provided physiological benefits and reduced the effects of anxiety, depression, and addiction. Running is hard, it's work, but it heals both body and mind. Running has provided me healing. 

RUN: It is only one word, one syllable but it echoes resounding victory.
Around Town
Greater Yellowstone Adventure Series:
  • 4th Annual Madison Triathlon (swim: 1,200 yards, bike: 23 miles, run: 6 miles) Ennis Lake to Harrison to Pony Montana on August 2, 2015. 10% discount for RWM members - RWM2015. To register and information:
  • HURL Elkhorn Endurance Runs, Aug. 1 , 23K, 50-mile, 50K, 5:00 a.m.  
Snowbowl 15K Trail Run, Missoula Snowbowl Ski Area, August 8, 8:30 a.m.

An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival Races, Butte, August 15th. 1 Mile, 5K and 10K distances. More information can be found at 

Canine Classic, Paws Up, September 20. 2 mile fun walk/run, 5 mile, half marathon. Fundraiser Western Montana Humane Society. 
Run Wild,


Chris Everett, Running Wild Newsletter Editor

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