The Run-Up to the Marathon: Ingredients for a Great Race

By TRISHA DROBECK

Race week has arrived!

And it is time to toe the line or cheer on friends and family for the sixth running of the Missoula Marathon. As the last marathon to receive the prestigious ‘Best Marathon Overall’ award from Runner’s World Magazine, many runners may pose the question:

What makes this race stand apart from the rest?

The answers to me are easy: Spectacular course, amazing finish, great volunteers, extremely organized, and modestly priced. And that last one is an important one, because some aspects of marathon running have become a business machine, placing more emphasis on the bottom line than the finish line.

The Missoula Marathon has a formula that’s worked since its inception, putting the focus on its participant’s experience rather than a gimmick to rack up the numbers. Just in the last year, weekend events like the Friday Night Beer Run, Missoula 5K, and Saturday Festival have been added to make an entire weekend of fun for runners and their families. And the Marathon committee is committed to keeping the cost down and the perks up.

This means to keep that same experience for participants, we turn to our amazing local sponsors to fill in the gaps.

A group finishes the Missoula Marathon hand-in-hand.

The Missoula Marathon has a vault of businesses that help out on race day and beyond. It truly could not be done without efforts from each and every one of them. Every single sponsor contributes their own special service that is instrumental for the race weekend.

No runner has ever said, ‘Wow, that race just had too many port-o-pots.” And with sponsorship dollars we shall buy more toilets!

We can also offer things like free pictures, high-quality technical tees, chip timing, lead pace car, live piano music around mile 17, free beer (and food of course), and lots of water, gel, medical support… and the list goes on and on.

From the inaugural race these gold level sponsors have been our key to success: Alpine Physical Therapy, Runner’s Edge, and the Good Food Store, and media sponsors Cherry Creek Radio & KECI. This year there are two new gold level sponsors, Kamut International and Kendall 4 Seasons Subaru. All these generous companies and businesses have donated their time, money, and resources to this race. Every single one is devoted to this not only this event but also to the bettering of our community.

We also have additional sponsors who nothing short of incredible because they too offer an abundance of support, many of which have stuck by us for all six years.

Thank you: First Security Bank, Missoula Bone & Joint, Southgate Mall, Community Medical, Bryon Smith Mortgage, The Family of Banks, Beach Transportation, Double Tree, Tamarack Brewing, Dr. J General Surgery, and Five Valleys Land Trust.

So many services are donated race day, too! Thing we couldn’t do without have been generously donated from: Big Sky Brewing, ie Recycling, Culligan, Garlington Lohn Robinson, Morgenroth Music Centers, Missoula Graphic Designer, Rocky Mountain School of Photography, Coca Cola, Big Sky Commerce, U-Haul, Western Montana Clinic.

This is a fantastic weekend of events in a remarkable community, and it couldn’t be possible without all of these dedicated sponsors.

So runners, Missoulians and weekend marathon warriors, I urge you, if you see or visit a sponsor, THANK THEM!! Numerous times. They are just downright dedicated to healthy, fun living here in Missoula.

Calling all volunteers! There’s still time to volunteer to help at the Missoula Marathon. Visit the Run Wild Missoula website for more details.

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

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Trisha Drobeck at the Rock 'n Roll Marathon Series.

Trisha (Miller) Drobeck is an avid marathon runner, Run Wild Missoula member and works with closely with Missoula Marathon Sponsors. 2012 will be her fourth running of the Missoula Marathon.