BOZEMAN – Thousands of people gathered in downtown Bozeman on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and take part in the annual Run to the Pub marathon.
There were close to 4,000 racers who competed in the 10k and half marathon race, known for its popularity and number of unique costumes. Almost every runner is draped in green, dressed as a leprechaun or as St. Patrick himself.
“It’s just a big party, you know,” said half marathon runner Martin Contreraz from Billings. “It’s fantastically fun. It is a little grueling sometimes but it is a good race and lots of fun people out here.”
“It’s very scenic,” said racer Cathy Bentz. “It’s very beautiful, but we like running to the pub. And the beer, did we say the beer?”
Bentz is talking about the complimentary beer each runner gets for crossing the finish line. A treat that is liked by many.
“It’s a St Patty’s Day run so everybody is ready to go have a beer at the end and celebrate with each other,” said Contreraz.
For others, the experience is brand new.
“This is my first time doing this,” said 10k runner Dustin Neely. “It is a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be but I ran the whole thing, didn’t take any breaks. So I am happy about that.”
When asked if he was ready for the print of beer, Neely’s answer was clear.
“Absolutely, maybe two of them.”
The run is one of Bozeman’s most popular, which Race Director Tyler Wilkinson said has to do with locals having cabin fever. On top of that, he said he keeps the race near March 17 because it is his favorite day of the year.
“So my birthday is actually on Saint Patrick’s Day, so I essentially get to throw myself one of the biggest birthdays anybody can do and that has been a lot of fun,” said Wilkinson.
The party continued throughout the day on Main Street with close to 15,000 people celebrating the holiday in downtown Bozeman.
The winner of the half marathon race was KBZK Meteorologist Carson Vickroy with a time of 1:11:47. Cesar Mireles won the 10k at 31:54.
-Reported by Mederios Babb/MTN News