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Five reasons to run the Missoula Marathon

There is a lot to like about the Missoula (Mont.) Marathon. It was named the Best Marathon in the U.S. in the debut BibRave 100 in 2017. Seven years earlier, readers of Runner’s World gave the race the same honor.

Runner’s World has also named the Missoula Marathon as a top marathon for back-of-the-pack runners and a top 10 bucket list marathon race.

This year I was unable to squeeze the Missoula Marathon into my race calendar. But there is still time for you to sign up. And when you do, use my discount code "BibRave18" for $5 off registration. Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Missoula Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro ambassador, and check out to find and write race reviews!

The marathon and half marathon are held on Sunday, July 15, following a 5K on Saturday and a Friday night beer run (more on that later). After you race, be sure to head to to claim your new results and then to write a review.

But first things first. Here are five reasons why I am considering running the Missoula Marathon, which is USATF certified and a Boston Marathon qualifying course, in 2019:

1. Mild weather for July

It’s Montana so there is little humidity, even on race day in mid-July. Runners should expect to start in the mid-50s and end in the high 70s, for those finishing around noon.

2. An easy button for packet pickup

Runners must pick up their race packet and chip on Saturday, July 14, at the expo, at the Caras Park Pavilion, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Not only does the race allow for friends to pick up your packet, but they go above and beyond for late arrivals. Race directors have made arrangements for a late packet pick up at the Missoula Airport from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

3. A very fair way to defer the race

The race does not allow refunds or transfers to other runners. However — unlike most races — runners are allowed one deferment. Those who registered but cannot participate this year are allowed to defer the marathon or half marathon registration to 2019.

No deferrals are offered for the Missoula 5K. The cost to defer a marathon or half marathon registration to 2019 is $20.

4. Cheers! Before and after the race

The Friday of race weekend there is a free Missoula Marathon Beer Run. It’s a 5K — not a beer mile — that finishes near Big Sky Brewing. Cheers!

And if you prefer to eschew alcohol so close to the race start, here’s something to chew on. At the post-race party, all marathon and half marathon finishers, 21 and over, receive a free beer, wholesome food and free post-race victory photos.

5. Little things matter

There are quite a few testimonials on the race website. Here’s one that stood out to me:

“Thank you for your willingness to give extra to your runners, like being available days after the race to exchange or purchase gear. It really sets this race apart. The little things really add up to a great experience.” — SBH from St. Helens, Oregon (2015)

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