Sunday marks the eleventh running of the Missoula Marathon, which has been over the past decade one of the largest growing marathon's in the United States. Runners from all fifty states and over a dozen countries will be participating in the half and full marathon competitions.
Ten thousand combined runners will hit the streets of Missoula and brave the heat. With temperatures expected to get into the upper 90s by midday, course officials are closing off the course an hour earlier than expected, from 7.5 hours to 6.5 hours. Saturday in Caras Park in downtown Missoula, race participants picked up their bibs, shirts, and any last minute run needs.
Kara Hanson, who is running the half-marathon, is from Duluth, Minnesota. She has run over ten half-marathon's before, but says that the night before is always tough.
"Even if you have run a lot of them before, there is always nerves. But there is excitement too. You worry about everything that could go wrong, and it usually turns out great." Hanson says.
Rachel Figge, a native of Missoula, says that her stomach will be rocking and rolling the night before a big race.
"A little nerve racking, because I have a lot of butterflies going on. But excitement though too. And worried about not waking up to your alarm, but mostly excitement" Figge says.
Even two of our own reporters will brave the heat and course on Sunday. Missoula Sports Director Shaun Rainey, and sports reporter Ben Wineman will be running the full marathon together. It will be Shaun's third marathon, and Ben's first.