MISSOULA – It started out as an experiment, but race organizers say things fell into place for Missoula Marathon weekend, which this year was two weeks earlier than normal.
The event brings thousands of people to the Garden City each year.
“We will probably run about 10,000 people through Caras Park over the weekend with the participants and families and friends…and they all go and hang out in Missoula for the rest of the day,” race director Tony Banovich said. “Those added people contribute a lot to Missoula’s economy, especially around downtown.”
“This year the marathon is two weeks earlier which might actually help one downtown industry. There were some minor conflicts but nothing big, and everybody has been able to make that work,” Banovich added.
“What we have been told is that this late June is a little bit quieter of time as we are before the Fourth of July, and it actually helps them fill blocks of rooms that might not have full occupancy,” he said.
Officials estimate that the marathon brings in around $2 million over the weekend, and businesses around the city look forward to it.
“When I go in and talk to people — whatever the business is — everybody seems to be excited about it. Everybody says ‘We love the marathon, it’s so great for us. We love what it’s about.’ We’ve had this
incredibly receptive business community, and I think that’s a big part of why we have been ranked the number
one marathon the past two years,” Banovich said.
It’s an event that the main sponsor — Consumer Direct Care Network — is very proud to be a part of.
“We’re proud of what the marathon brings to the city so…we like to have our name up there with the Missoula
Marathon. It gives you a good feeling to see your company’s name a part of this weekend,” Consumer Direct Care Network President and CEO Ben Bledsoe said.
In addition to improving community logistics, race organizers say the earlier date helps avoid air quality issues related to fire season.
-Reported by Connor McCauley/MTN News