UPDATE – Alaska Runner Shatters Record at Missoula Marathon [YouTube]
UPDATE - 9:00 a.m. Sunday, July 13
Matt Adams, a runner from Alaska, running in the Missoula Marathon for the first time, has set a new course record, in addition to a new state record. Race Director Anders Brooker relayed the information to KGVO News.
"One exciting this happened today," Brooker said. "Our men's marathon winner, the top finisher, broke the all-time Montana record, so he ran the fastest marathon ever on the soil of Montana."
Adams finished the race in two hours and twenty minutes, shattering the old record by almost six full minutes.
Brooker said participation numbers for the eighth annual event has broken all records, as well.
"We're at right around 4,200 for the half marathon, about 1,600 for the full marathon," he said. "We had 1,000 for the 5k race on Saturday, along with about 500 for the kids yesterday. Anyone who's thinking about doing it next year, hopefully you witnessed it this year and saw all the fun and energy here at the finish line. Right now, downtown Missoula is just electric with people."
The sun was barely up on Sunday morning before 4,200 enthusiastic runners and walkers squeezed through the starting gate on Blue Mountain Road for a 6 a.m. start of the Missoula half-marathon.
Before the race began, Dan Adcock and his team from Alpine Physical Therapy warmed up with a large group of runners, to get them properly stretched out and ready for the race.
"Muscle strains are pretty common early in the run and you get tight so you just can't get a good stride, a good cadence, so you just kind of seize up during the run," Adcock said. "It's important to get a good warm-up before the run so you can enjoy the race, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day for the run."
Adcock said typically, the finish is the most difficult part of the half-marathon.
"This course is primarily on the flat with some downhill sections, but I'm guessing that the finish will be the hardest," he said. "That final kick that people want to get in so they get the best time they can."
Race announcer Glen Moyer, a local pastor known as "Clothman" from his weekly Missoulian column, said the half marathon has a record number of participants.
"We've got 4,200 at the start,and that's a record for us," Moyer said. "We capped it at 4,200 to keep the race as safe and under control as possible. If it gets too big, we just can't handle the number of people for the size of the town. In fact, they did a ranking recently and the Missoula event was the 9th best marathon in the world."
In 2010, the Missoula Marathon was chosen by Runner's World magazine as the nation's best marathon experience. Now, in it's eighth year, the event has grown both in numbers and community support.
The half marathon started on Blue Mountain Road, while the full marathon started in Frenchtown. Both finish at Caras Park.