Overall Rating
Overall Rating (153 Reviews)
4.9
(153 Ratings)(153 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
2.6
SCENERY
4.6
PRODUCTION
4.8
SWAG
4.4
The Missoula Marathon is the brainchild of a group of local, dedicated members of Run Wild Missoula who want to share the area’s beauty and Missoula’s unique feel with runners from all over. The Missoula Marathon is one of our community’s most beloved and supported events. The Missoula Marathon has … MORE
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Recent reviews

    WinP FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race was the most organized race I've ever run, down to the details of the bib being in the shape of Montana, Deena Kastor handing out medals at the … MORE

    This race was the most organized race I’ve ever run, down to the details of the bib being in the shape of Montana, Deena Kastor handing out medals at the finish, PLENTY of volunteers, easy directions on getting to the race start, fluids and plenty of bathrooms at the start and finish (you didn’t have to wait in long lines – huge importance at the beginning of any race), clear communications and updates from the race director, Tony Banovich, and even fireworks at the beginning! The townspeople completely supported the run – one guy even brought his piano out to his front lawn to play it, and there were bagpipes, bluegrass and other musicians coming out. People had sprinklers in front of their homes and were cheering on the runners. Plus, this is such a beautiful area – Ponderosa pines covering the nearby mountains and beautiful hiking trails. I was injured going in so a bit bummed prior – the scenery and well organized run – the energy – brought me out of the funk though – how could it not?! I highly recommend this!!! I’m going back!!! Thanks for an absolutely wonderful experience!

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    ed_eberhardy FIRST-TIMER '18

    This race is rad... A ton of people running, and spectating made for a great vibe and a fun atmosphere. Pancake flat made for an easy run on the body. … MORE

    This race is rad… A ton of people running, and spectating made for a great vibe and a fun atmosphere. Pancake flat made for an easy run on the body.

    The only criticism I have is that the finish seems so spacious…. I think the race organizers should move the barriers further into the road so that the roar of the spectator is more in your face as you come down the finishing shoot. Easier to get high fives that way too!

    Overall super fun experience!!!! You should run this race 😀

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    jeddunn FIRST-TIMER '18

    Awesome race, people playing instruments along the route,( A grand piano, Violins, guitars, more.) Unbeatable scenery, cowboys and mountains, rivers galore. The whole community comes out , extra aid stations … MORE

    Awesome race, people playing instruments along the route,( A grand piano, Violins, guitars, more.) Unbeatable scenery, cowboys and mountains, rivers galore. The whole community comes out , extra aid stations run by kids and everyone has their sprinklers out for cooling down runners. I’m going to do this every year as long as I live here.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    microg98 FIRST-TIMER '18

    My son and I made the trip from New Jersey to Montana to sight see and participate in the running weekend. This was a nice course in a beautiful part … MORE

    My son and I made the trip from New Jersey to Montana to sight see and participate in the running weekend. This was a nice course in a beautiful part of the country that starts in a rural part of town and makes its way to the center of town.
    Missoula rolls out it’s carpet for the thousands of visitors. The weather was perfect. Race organization was on point. Aid stations adequately placed. All the locals were so welcoming of the runners. There were fireworks and a canon to signify the start (at 6am – good thing we stayed on east coast time), farms, cattle and horses, a guy in a tuxedo playing a baby grand piano on his front yard, sprinklers and hoses to keep the runners cool, an adult beverage table at one house (that was the home of our waiter from Thursday night so I had advance notice – so cool that he remembered me).

    DIFFICULTY
    2
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    5
    SCENERY
    5
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    5

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    pvshelle REPEAT RUNNER '18

    So well run! Beautiful scenery...fireworks to start. Entire community turns out in support. 700 of the Best, Upbeat Volunteers!!! Couldn't get any better!! MORE

    So well run! Beautiful scenery…fireworks to start. Entire community turns out in support. 700 of the Best, Upbeat Volunteers!!! Couldn’t get any better!!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    sarahsgarden521 FIRST-TIMER '18

    The scenery was amazing. The college students with the over 21 aid station! That was Great! A must do on any bucket list. Traveled from Washington and most definitely will … MORE

    The scenery was amazing. The college students with the over 21 aid station! That was Great! A must do on any bucket list. Traveled from Washington and most definitely will be back next year.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    LauraKD FIRST-TIMER '18

    Amazing organization and support. Everything from communication (which was outstanding prior to, during, and after the race) to aid stations (EIGHT on a half marathon course!) to simple things like … MORE

    Amazing organization and support. Everything from communication (which was outstanding prior to, during, and after the race) to aid stations (EIGHT on a half marathon course!) to simple things like signs that made it clear how to get back to our cars—this all made it a great day. Course was lovely and not terribly challenging. I’d recommend this race to anyone!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    shane_bird FIRST-TIMER '18

    HIGHLY Recommended!!! Amazing positive vibe, from fellow racers, officials/volunteers, to the spectators and community. I do believe this has spoiled me! Gonna be pretty hard to top this race experience. … MORE

    HIGHLY Recommended!!! Amazing positive vibe, from fellow racers, officials/volunteers, to the spectators and community. I do believe this has spoiled me! Gonna be pretty hard to top this race experience. I very much look forward to 2019!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3
    My Media

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    DrewNYC FIRST-TIMER '18

    First, I should note that this was a tough race for me--but that was because of an injury I was dealing with. So, my finish time doesn't reflect my opinion … MORE

    First, I should note that this was a tough race for me–but that was because of an injury I was dealing with. So, my finish time doesn’t reflect my opinion of the race.

    This was a three race weekend–a 3 mile (untimed) beer run on Friday night, a 5k race on Saturday, and then the main event (marathon and half marathon) on Sunday. This schedule provided an opportunity for fans of various distances and for families to participate in the events of the weekend. (Baby joggers/strollers were allowed on Friday night and Saturday’s 5k.)

    The Missoula area is breathtaking and the area was more “hip” than I had anticipated (big farmer’s market, lots of craft beers, etc). Not easy (or cheap) to get there–took me 2 flights to get there. I’d recommend staying in the downtown area, which is near where the events of the weekend take place.

    The expo is outdoors. Race shirts were nice as were the medals. For Sunday’s races, they provided free photos (you could get your picture taken and then they would provide you a printed copy then and there).

    It was warm (especially Friday night). I believe they are moving the date up to June next year as they are concerned about forest fires they sometimes have to deal with (luckily none this weekend).

    For those runners looking to cross Montana off your list–or those looking for a fun/scenic summer race–I would highly recommend the Missoula Marathon.

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    dalmx416 REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Fan support was tremendous, weather was perfect, swag was great, race production was spot-on, and fireworks at the starting line are just some of the top-notch items. Also seen along … MORE

    Fan support was tremendous, weather was perfect, swag was great, race production was spot-on, and fireworks at the starting line are just some of the top-notch items.
    Also seen along the way were multiple signs, lots of cheering spectators, fiddle players, cowboys on horses, a pianist in a tuxedo with his grand piano in his yard, about 100 sprinkler from the locals, and much much more!

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5
    My Media

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    rfeierbach REPEAT RUNNER '17

    A nice level course throughout. Beautiful country scenery, running by rivers, and enjoying the fresh Montana air. Well organized course, and one of runner's favorites in the US. MORE

    A nice level course throughout. Beautiful country scenery, running by rivers, and enjoying the fresh Montana air. Well organized course, and one of runner’s favorites in the US.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    4

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    d.dencklau FIRST-TIMER '14

    I LOVED Missoula. Both the race and the town. Pros: -Great vibe, great volunteers, easy logistics -The outside of town parts of the course were scenic -Crowd support once in … MORE

    I LOVED Missoula. Both the race and the town.

    Pros:
    -Great vibe, great volunteers, easy logistics
    -The outside of town parts of the course were scenic
    -Crowd support once in town was great! Several folks set up sprinklers.
    -Free race photo at the finish
    -Great pre-race communication
    -Nice medal and shirt

    Cons:
    -Super hot the year I ran it, race did a nice job to help support runners but it is a consideration given that I know it was hot again in 2017

    Bottom Line: This is such a great race! And a great, supportive community! If you have time, check out the farmers market Saturday morning. Planning to travel back to run this one again when time permits!

    DIFFICULTY
    2
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    5

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    M_Sohaskey FIRST-TIMER '17

    BOTTOM LINE: It’s no hyperbole to say Missoula is the perfect small-town marathon. But you don’t need me to tell you that – it’s one of the most highly rated … MORE

    BOTTOM LINE: It’s no hyperbole to say Missoula is the perfect small-town marathon. But you don’t need me to tell you that – it’s one of the most highly rated events on RaceRaves. Tony Banovich and his team let the peaceful rural beauty of the point-to-point course and the friendliness of the locals speak for themselves, and both speak loudly. As you might guess, you won’t get mile after mile of blasting music or screaming spectators (thankfully), but you will get a wildly rewarding marathon experience that, Halfway Hill and potential July heat aside, makes you wish you could bottle Big Sky Country and take it with you. And lucky you if you live here.

    Unlike other expensive events that “entertain” their runners on race day with blaring music, colorful distractions and contrived bells and whistles, Missoula feels entirely authentic. And delightful touches like a piano player on a front lawn at mile 17 only add to its charm. Missoula is a spot-on race to include in your summer vacation plans, with Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park to the southwest and Glacier National Park to the north. Though if you do opt for a racecation, do your legs a favor and run the race first — several days spent hiking in the Big Sky heat and at Big Sky altitude beforehand will wear you down, and the ultimate victim will be your legs on race day. Somewhere around mile 18. Hypothetically speaking, of course.

    PRODUCTION: In a word, elk-cellent. The Run Wild Missoula team are clearly pros — from the regular prerace email updates (particularly important when the weather forecast threatens triple digits), to enabling expo latecomers to pick up their bib numbers hassle-free at the Missoula airport, to the low-key start-line fireworks in Frenchtown, to the well-labeled aid stations, to the motivational signs posted along the course in the later miles (when I very much wanted to call it a day), to the awesome post-race spread and Big Sky Brewing tent.

    Case in point, I didn’t realize until Saturday afternoon — entirely my fault — that I wasn’t going to be able to reach the expo before it closed, so I sent an email asking if I might be able to pick up my bib number at the airport that evening. Soon after, I received a very friendly and personalized “Welcome to Missoula!” email that went on to say, “We are happy to provide you with the opportunity to pick up your packet late!” The whole process was quick and easy, with Missoula Marathon banners greeting us at the airport. I’ve never received better customer service from a race.

    (That said, I would suggest extending expo hours until 6:00pm, since a 4:00pm closing time for a one-day expo seems a bit early.)

    Seeing all the sprinklers, hoses and squirt guns mobilized for our benefit, it felt like the entire town of Missoula had prepared and shown up for its hometown race. The town clearly takes pride in its marathon, and as a visiting runner there’s no better feeling. Because you can’t fake that — coming from Los Angeles, I know the disappointment of having an A+ race play to apathetic locals. Like Louisiana in January, this is a race organized first and foremost with the runners in mind. Race Director Tony B. seemed very relaxed (despite fighting a cold) when we saw him moments before the race, which is unusual for an RD, and I was reminded of what Peyton Manning once said: “Pressure is something you feel when you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.” Clearly Tony and his team know what they’re doing.

    (And if you decide to run Missoula based on anything I’ve said, tell ‘em Mike and Katie from RaceRaves sent you!)

    SWAG: I’m not that guy who proudly displays his bib numbers, but the Missoula bib stands out since it’s shaped like the state of Montana — another of the small but cool details at which this race excels. But while I’m not a bib guy, I’m definitely a medal guy, and this year’s Missoula medal is a classic reminder of a first-class event. Suspended from an eye-catching orange ribbon, it’s a hefty piece of bronze hardware emblazoned with the race logo — not always a good thing for races, unless your logo happens to feature a silhouette of an elk with shoes dangling from its antlers on a backdrop of mountains. Then you show it off whenever you can. Likewise the race tee is a keeper that promises to become a regular in my rotation, white with attractive orange lettering and stitching.

    Free finish-line photos were provided to all runners courtesy of Gameface Media, though unlike last year no photographer was positioned on the opposite side of Maclay Bridge, maybe the best vantage point for photos along the course. And Referee Photo was set up at the post-race festival to print glossy hard copies of your triumphant finisher’s photo at no charge. First time I’ve encountered that, and one more “surprise and delight” moment in a weekend full of them.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
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    5
    My Report
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    4
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    4
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    Lorelei Nov 09, 2017 at 3:37pm

    I’m hoping to run this elk-cellant race someday. It is on my list, even more so after reading your review.

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    M_Sohaskey Nov 09, 2017 at 8:35pm

    Great to hear, Lorelei – and do take some time to explore the town and area when you go, since it's a beautiful region (as you know from your visit to Glacier). Huckleberries galore! :)

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    Kathy97089 REPEAT RUNNER '17

    By far the best three day event I have been to. The minute you enter town there is a special vibe in the air. The beer run on Friday evening … MORE

    By far the best three day event I have been to. The minute you enter town there is a special vibe in the air. The beer run on Friday evening is a great way to get familiar with the town. Everyone I meet was extreamly friendly, wanting to exchange phone numbers for future runs. The 5k was well organized and fun way to shake out the nerves for Sunday’s race. The morning of the marathon the shuttle buses ran amazingly smooth, the volunteers where supportive and the community came out and cheered. At the finish of the race they had free photos, great food and beer. I am thankful for all the hard work and planning that the organization, town, and volunteers did to offer the best experience possible. I will be back next year!

    DIFFICULTY
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    5
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    5
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    5
    My Media

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    TerriB FIRST-TIMER '17

    I have no cons for this race. Everything was organized very well and the course was flat and beautiful. I always enjoy a race were the community fully supports it. … MORE

    I have no cons for this race. Everything was organized very well and the course was flat and beautiful. I always enjoy a race were the community fully supports it. This race was by far the most community supported race I have done,the residents putting their sprinklers out in the road, one man played his grand piano in his front yard, the banjo payer in the middle of the woods, a fiddler, guitar player and a little girl even brought her sheep out for us to admire as we ran by.
    Best communication from race directors pre race and post race I have ever seen.

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    5
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    M_Sohaskey Nov 27, 2017 at 6:33pm

    Weren't the little touches like the fiddler and piano player awesome? I ran Missoula this year as well and, like you, can't really think of any way they could have improved on the day, aside from maybe leveling out the hill at the marathon halfway point. :) (BTW, I think you may have meant to write "I have no cons for this race"? You can edit this if desired.) Congrats on adding Montana to your 50 States map, you're turning the US a mighty nice shade of orange!

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    TerriB Nov 27, 2017 at 9:07pm

    Edited...,
    I did thoroughly enjoy this half marathon.

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    jalexander REPEAT RUNNER '17

    I love this race! Great scenery, awesome volunteers and community support. Run Wild Missoula puts on a good race, everything is organized and runs smoothly. I look forward to this … MORE

    I love this race! Great scenery, awesome volunteers and community support. Run Wild Missoula puts on a good race, everything is organized and runs smoothly. I look forward to this event every year.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    5

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    jengwilson1 FIRST-TIMER '17

    The shuttles in the morning were easy and fast. Mine didn't even have a line and the driver was energetic and encouraging, especially for 4:30 a.m.! Locals really make this … MORE

    The shuttles in the morning were easy and fast. Mine didn’t even have a line and the driver was energetic and encouraging, especially for 4:30 a.m.! Locals really make this race. Many people cheer, play live music, set out sprinklers, and volunteer to man the event. It’s FUN, positive, exciting, beautiful and one that I will definitely do again!

    DIFFICULTY
    1
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    5
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    4
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    5

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    erowings REPEAT RUNNER '17

    First things first: I love Missoula! I ran a half-marathon in Missoula in 2013, which was only the second timed race of my life with bib numbers, and the experience … MORE

    First things first: I love Missoula! I ran a half-marathon in Missoula in 2013, which was only the second timed race of my life with bib numbers, and the experience back then hooked me on endurance running.

    I ran the Missoula full marathon one time before, in 2014, and am happy to say that I ran a then-personal best time of 3:37:38, good enough to qualify for Boston in my age group. I didn’t take the opportunity to run Boston the following year in 2015, and in retrospect I wish I had. Read my previous race rave for how it went in 2017 for insight as to why. I won’t bore you with it here, and I just want to touch briefly on this race itself validating for me that I’m slowing down a little as I get older 🙁 I went out with the intention of testing my fitness level after a fairly slow result in Boston, and ended up with an even slower result in Missoula. But I want to make this about Missoula, not myself, so here goes:

    Missoula is the perfect first full-marathon, in my humble opinion. I did run it as my second in 2014, but if you’re reading this and trying to decide whether to enter next year my advice is GO FOR IT! You have one real uphill beginning right at the Mile 13 marker, and once you’re up there you are in the shade of a riot of beautiful pines, rolling up and down a bit until you head down a fast hill before an aid station a couple of miles later. Other than that it is as advertised: flat and fast.

    But that’s not all. Missoula is a college town accessible by I-90, the last town of any real size heading west on your way to the skinny part of Idaho, and there is a unique flavor to the general friendliness of the townfolk, very many of whom populate the expo and the race courses to volunteer for what I have to believe is becoming their town’s signature annual event. The support is nothing short of superb, and for a small city the amount of spectators that come out for the racers is heartening.

    I was asked by my adult daughter this year if I’d like to volunteer at the expo the day before the race this year, and I had so much fun that I will most likely do it every year going forward. They put the two of us on the chip verification table, helping folks wave their bibs over a reader and check their own data on PC monitors. I come to this race from 1,000 miles away from Colorado, and though I knew that most of the United States and a lot of the rest of the world have entrants it was a blast meeting so many of them. I even met a guy from my mother’s home town in Ohio!

    Every year the shuttles to the start get more and more organized – they now have a shuttle running from the finish area downtown to the university where racer’s are required to park, adding to the convenience.

    Besides the scenery, the people, the relative smoothness of the course, et al, there is also a feature that I believe is completely unique to American marathons: the piano guy. A local professional musician dresses up in tux and tails every year, wheels a grand piano out onto his lawn along the course at about the 16th mile, and plays for the runners as they go by. He’s very good, too! I put a tip in a snack baggie this year, and wrapped it around a dog fetch ball with a rope tied through the holes to toss to him, and because I left him a note he replied thanking me, too. This is a tradition I’d love to see at least a few other people pick up and help me get started – the first time you’ll see him I think you’ll understand why I am compelled to show my appreciation.

    Then there’s the Higgins Street Bridge, which is the very last stretch to the finish line just before Front Street. The locals line the bridge on both sides, cheering their hearts out for everybody.

    I Love Missoula! Even after Boston, this is still my favorite race. Try it and see for yourself.

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    j.richman FIRST-TIMER '17

    Very well run event. missoula is a beautiful town in a gorgeous setting. The race starts before sunrise and runners are treated with a big sky sunrise during early miles. … MORE

    Very well run event. missoula is a beautiful town in a gorgeous setting. The race starts before sunrise and runners are treated with a big sky sunrise during early miles. The community comes out big for the race and there are few lonely stretches since people are out in the yards with sprinklers, etc, cheering on the runners. The finish is welcome and well supported.

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    balbro REPEAT RUNNER '17

    The cheering is amazing. The guy that plays the piano in the yard is really real- he plays rain or shine. The medals are fabulous and so are the shirts. … MORE

    The cheering is amazing. The guy that plays the piano in the yard is really real- he plays rain or shine. The medals are fabulous and so are the shirts. Run the beer run Friday, the 5K Saturday and the half Sunday to make it a full weekend! Friday and Saturday are fun runs- bring the family and walk or run! Those days are on the trail so very stroller friendly.

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    5

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