Photo Finish: Neil Chaput de Saintonge for Run Wild Missoula


Run Wild Missoula is fortunate that Neil Chaput de Saintonge, Rocky Mountain School of Photography founder and co-owner, has given his time to photograph several Run Wild Missoula races over the years.

In 2011, he photographed ten Run Wild Missoula races and volunteered approximately 60 hours of shooting and editing time.

Run Wild Missoula and the Rocky Mountain School of Photography Gallery are proud to announce that Neil’s photos will be on display for the upcoming exhibit, Photo Finish.

The exhibition opens on March 2 from 5–8 p.m. and will remain on display through April 27.

Neil captures the pre-race nerves and smiles, the gutsy sprints at the end of a race and the relief and happiness as runners cross the finish line. After each race, I scroll through the photos that Neil takes and I can’t hold back a smile as I relive the race experience all over again.

A happy finisher. Photo by Neil Chaput de Saintonge.

He documents the details that I didn’t notice—a dressed-up dog on the sidelines, a sleeping baby in a spectator’s arms, the tattooed legs of a runner. He zooms in on the struggling faces of athletes as they push the limits of their bodies and minds, the triumphant racers as they outrun a fellow racer, and the hugs shared with friends at the finish line.

The stories are so much more than about running. Look deeper and see the athletes who are running for a cause or for a friend with an illness. See the runners who took up running to get through a divorce or the death of a friend or family member. There are also the runners who signed up for a race to gain confidence and to do something that makes them feel proud.

The photographs also embody what it means to be a runner in Missoula.

We run to stay fit and for mental health. We run because we can—because we have the trail systems, the races to motivate us, the running club to support and promote us, and a running store that provides resources and encouragement.

Thrilled at the finish line. Photo by Neil Chaput de Saintonge.

But most of us run because we love being part of the running community and we love the friendships that we’ve found along the way.

We promise a race-like atmosphere in a classy environment. Over 150 photos will be available for viewing with lots of familiar faces. Come find your friends and tell them that Neil is generously giving everyone represented in the photos a complimentary copy of the photograph.

The images will be available for download starting this Friday and each print in the exhibition will be given away at the close of the show starting April 23. You can also see more photos from the exhibit on Facebook.

I hope you will join us for the opening reception this Friday!


Stay in the loop with Missoula’s running community! Check out the Run/Walk It archives for more posts from Eva and other Missoula runners and walkers.


Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.