• Juan J. Arrieta

Missoula Half on my 2021 Horizon

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro by going to https://www.bibrave.com/bibravepro. Find more race reviews like this one at www.bibrave.com.

The COVID19 pandemic has been a complete wrecking ball with practically everything in our world, and running events unfortunately are no exception. Most, if not all races that were scheduled from around the March timeframe all the way through the end of this year, including the Missoula Marathon, were either cancelled for 2020 or are in the process of doing so as part of important measures needed to the help control the coronavirus. So I've taken this time to focus on the basics by building a strong and sustainable mileage base that will hopefully prepare me to have my best racing year ever in 2021. The first target I'm including in that horizon is the Missoula Marathon, and here are the reasons why:

Running a top-rated race

For a number of consecutive years, the Missoula Marathon has been named as the top-rated marathon in the BibRave100 list. Last year, the half marathon distance also made it to the Top20 list, so it is clear that inside and out, this is high-quality event and I feel fortunate to be able to participate in it.

Runners who voted for this race (myself included), rated it as being exceptionally well organized, having outstanding community support, and offering one of the most beautiful courses out there, with 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a fast finish downtown. I felt that it was both a fun and challenging course that still netted me a sub-2 hour finish for the half, something I'm quite proud of and would love to improve on even more next year.

Cool, favorable weather

The weather, although entirely out of our control, plays a big role in both the enjoyment of the race as well as with the hopes of having a strong showing and obtaining good results completing it. The average temperatures in Missoula for the month of June range between 47F and 74F degrees with 65% humidity. If race day conditions fall on the lower to mid-end of that range, they would be optimal for me. It would make tackling this challenge easier and mirror good results I have experienced in similar conditions.

Meet fellow BibRave peeps

It is always a unique experience to have the opportunity to not only meet but also run a marquee event like the Missoula Marathon with other BibRave team members and Pros. We generally interact with one another quite a bit on social media, such as during our monthly Twitter BibChats. However, it is not often that we get to meet face-to-face and run together, as we live literally all over the world, so being able to experience this with a few of them will definitely make it a special weekend for me.

Do the marathon beer run and take brewery tours

One of several fun aspects of the Missoula Marathon weekend is the beer run on Friday evening. It is a free and fun social run that starts and ends in downtown Missoula at Caras Park Pavillion, with a party that includes live entertainment and free Big Sky Brewing Company beer for all finishers who are over 21 years of age.

According to the Destination Missoula website, Montana ranks #2 in the nation for craft breweries per capita, and Missoula is clear evidence of that with its share of them right in town.

I plan to go to at least a couple of more breweries that I wasn't able to visit when I ran this race in 2019.

Last but NOT least, go fishing, kayaking, and hiking

Missoula is well known for its accessibility to outstanding rivers, lakes, and fishing. Many years ago when I lived in Utah I really got into trout fishing and absolutely loved it, but have not done so in a very a long time.

I also want to take advantage of the opportunity I will have being there and enjoy a day of kayaking as well as hiking on the days after the race.

My plan is to take the car and have my own transportation then use a few extra days of rest and relaxation to take it all in. Will be bringing my newly upgraded GoPro camera to take a bunch of action shots and video as well. Doing so should make this not only a memorable trip, but also a more relaxing one that will allow me to get away and disconnect from it all as part of my 2021 summer break.

2021 Race Dates

Marathon weekend for 2021 is scheduled for June 25 – 27, 2021 (with the Marathon & Half Marathon on Sunday, June 27, 2021). Sign up by going to www.missoulamarathon.org; reach out to me at @3dotjuan on social if you have any questions about this awesome event; I'd be glad to help you learn even more about it!

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