Marathons: Paul #39, Leah #29, State #23 : Missoula Marathon 2014
13th July 2014, Missoula, Montana, USA
Finish Time = 3:57:45
The flight to Montana was only a 2 hour hop in a small regional jet so we left Saturday morning and got there with plenty of time to spare. Montana was experiencing a heat wave which predicted the day of the marathon to be the hottest day of the year for them so far.
That made for a great Saturday though, we went to the expo which was held outdoors and picked up our packets as well as some unique Missoula Marathon race gear. Then we explored the farmer’s market before getting some sandwiches and local cold brewed iced coffee.
We walked around Missoula exploring the city, stopping to watch people surfing in the currents of the river. It seemed like a great place for kids and adults, very clean and open.
We managed to fit a 2 mile tune-up run in, get dinner and an early night, all without having to rush around. Definitely a change from some other marathons we’ve had.
At 3am our alarms went off. We had to be up and ready for our hotel shuttle which was leaving at 4am to drop us off at the point where we would then get a marathon shuttle bus (one of the yellow US school buses) that would drive us to the start line of the point-to-point course. It’s always a bit daunting when you’re driven away from the finish line for 45 minutes in the dark.
We hung around at the start and met up with some familiar faces, various friends in the Marathon Maniacs. After the sun started rising we all grouped together for the Maniacs photo.
Afterwards, the race started promptly at 6am with the launching of fireworks.
The start of the marathon was great, it was warm enough to be wearing shorts and a singlet without being too hot as the sun wasn’t up yet. The course already started out scenic, we were running on roads going past local farms with mountain ranges to the left, right and straight ahead. It was very serene and the sun looked spectacular as it slowly emerged from behind the mountains. What did break the silence though was the horn from a train and we noticed up ahead there was a railway crossing. We couldn’t see the train or work out where it was coming from, but the horn kept making it sound like it was getting closer. We didn’t want to risk getting stopped at the crossing (this does happen in some marathons), so we picked up the pace to sprint over the tracks. I don’t think the train actually came our way after all.
Half way through the run there was a hill climb, which while steep, provided an unbelievable view of mountains and lakes once we got to the top.
Further on we ran by a guy in a full suit, playing classical music on his piano set out in the garden. He was amazing, I definitely wasn’t expecting that, but have since read that he does it every year for the marathon:
The second half of the marathon heated up. We were doing well and got to mile 20 in a time where I worked out that as long as we did the last 6.2 miles quicker than 10 minutes per mile each, we’d make the sub 4 hour time. This seemed inevitable. However, as soon as I had thought this would be a great way to view it to get through the last 6, somehow running sub 10 minutes miles suddenly became much harder than it should have been. The fatigue from Alaska and the 2 month training break before that was showing itself. The sun was blasting and the last 6 miles were nothing short of a struggle. The crowds were great though, Leah pulled me along and the finish line was one of the ones you can see from a good distance right around the 26 mile mark which is nice.
As we ran down to it they announced our names and we crossed the line in 3:57, the same time I’d run in Alaska 3 weeks prior.
We met up with some fellow Marathon Maniacs (and 50 Sub 4 Members) in the food area and chatted about the race.
Upon collecting our kit bags and checking the flight schedules, we found seats that had opened up on an earlier flight home. With me needing to be up at 5am the next morning for my flight for work, catching an earlier flight was my only chance at getting 8 hours sleep that night – bonus! We rushed back to the hotel, booked the new flights, showered and changed and even had time for a pizza lunch. I would highly recommend Missoula for a Montana marathon, it was a fantastic race and I’m glad we were able to be a part of it.
Elevation Graph from my running watch:
We love hearing your comments and feedback! Please feel free to add something using the form below. When you press Post Comment it might seem like it has disappeared, but it has been sent to us. We’ll read and publish it as soon as possible. Thanks!