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Why the Missoula Marathon is a must race

It's easy to see why runners love the Missoula (Mont.) Marathon. A simple search for reviews show that runners cherish everything from the opening beer run to the easy logistics to pre-race fireworks to the swag and post-race celebration.

While I won’t be running the race this year, the Missoula Marathon is definitely on my to-do list. If you are looking for an epic summer marathon — without the heat — there is still time for you to sign up. 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 Missoula Marathon and half marathon are held on Sunday, July 15, following a 5K on Saturday and a Friday night beer run. After you race, head over to to claim your new results and then to write a review.

The race was named the Best Marathon in the U.S. in the debut BibRave 100 in 2017. What follows is a sampling of reviews of those who have run the event.

Let’s start off with the free beer run that kicks off the Friday-Sunday race weekend.

“The beer run is free and open to all. It takes place during 5k packet pickup. It is a 3-mile course, and it was beautiful. I took photos of a deer drinking from the river a mere 15 feet away. The next morning is the 5k, and this year it featured Mike Wardian. Parking was easy on the streets, and at the end there was a massive farmer's market ... it was an awesome treat.” — wrote A.B. of Arizona.

This year, Missoula will welcome featured elite athlete Deena Kastor.

Meg S. of Virginia ran the event in 2017, when the high temperatures neared 100 degrees. But the race director was prepared for such an anomaly.

“Bus loading is between 4:15-5:15. It's a smooth loading and drop off process to the start. There are tons of portajohns and tables with water and cups available. The temperature was a lovely 62 degrees. The National Anthem was played, the fireworks went off and the race started at 6 a.m. sharp,” Meg wrote in her BibRave review.

“The course is beautiful, with mountains, river views, farmlands, and lovely homes,” she continues, noting that it it not a flat course. It is Montana, after all.

“There is one large hill and a few rollers but it's not bad. There was a lot of shade along the course, more than expected actually, and a nice breeze. The 3:50 pacers did a great job and were fun to run with. And amazingly the temperature was not that bad, but probably close to 80 by 9:45. It is a dry heat though! The absolute best part, other than the large number of aid stations (roughly every two miles until the last 10k when they were every mile), was the community support. Cold, wet sponges at a few stops and tons and tons of sprinklers, misters, and hoses. It made such a huge difference. Yes, my running buddy and I were drenched but dried pretty quickly at the end! The cold water was amazing and frequent the last six miles.”

James Harris of Washington state praised the 2016 version, focusing on a lot of the little things that make races worth doing. Among the highlights, according to Harris:

• Superbly well organized – packet pickup is easy and everything is catered to a smooth experience for the runner.

• Plenty of shuttles to the start with short wait times – just make sure if you are a half-marathon runner do not board the full marathon bus … a couple of runners on my shuttle came very close to making this mistake!

• Loads of portables … and I mean loads. First visit there were no lines and second tour I waited maybe two minutes.

• Firework display to start the race!

• Great shirt and fabulous bling – it’s a monster, big bling for Big Sky! I also got me a great Run Wild Missoula race visor in powder blue and brown for my collection!

• Post-race food and beer – nothing like a Moose Drool IPA from the Big Sky Brewing Company to lift the spirits after 26 miles!

• Free race pictures to download and use however you prefer.

Check out these full reviews, and others, at BibRave. Even better, register for this year’s race and then add your review so others can find out why the Missoula Marathon is so special.

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