Bibrave Race Review: Missoula Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Missoula Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

By Sunday, it was run number 3 for me in Montana. I had done the Free Beer Run on Friday night (3 miles), followed by the Missoula 5K Saturday.  Saturday after the Missoula 5K, I picked up my bib and number for the Half Marathon. The way packet pick up worked meant that only 5K bibs/shirts could be picked up on Friday, so I couldn’t pick up both of my race bibs at the same time. I finished the 5K around 830 and walked around the expo a bit, which ran from 8-4 and was pretty packed up until 9/9:30 AM. It was pretty easy to get my bib (bibs were split into half or full and then alphabetically by last name), but I had to wait a few minutes to get my shirt. We also got a string bag with not a whole lot in it, but I was ok with that. It had an area on the front where you wrote your bib number in it if you were checking your bag at the start. They had an area at the expo with plenty of permanent markers to do it there (smart thinking!). The expo was small, had all of your basic stuff (race merchandise, running shops, small local things and Jeff Galloway had a booth as well). I ended up walking around a farmer’s market next door after I had all my stuff and then grabbed some brunch. I chilled out at the hotel for most of the day before going to church and then dinner on Saturday night.

 

Race day was an early morning. I keep saying I need to not do as many early start/point to point races because it’s tiring. I was up by 3:30/4 AM, which felt like 2:30/3 AM to me. I had all of my stuff out the night before and after getting changed and functioning, I was out the door with my protein shake and drove 10 minutes to the Univ. of Montana and the Adams Center. Since it was a 6 AM start, everyone had to be shuttled to either the half or full marathon start. There was plenty of parking and plenty of shuttles at 4:25 when I got there and parked. A little better differentiation between the half line and the full line would have been good, though there were volunteers there directing you. I was texting back and forth with fellow Bibrave Pro Justin, who was also at the race, but doing the full. Shortly after I had left for the start, the lines for the half got pretty long!

At the start, people were stretching or trying to get some shut eye. I got there around 5 AM and had time to have some breakfast, drink some fluids and use the porta potties twice (trust me, there were more than plenty). It was dark for at least the first half an hour before the sun came up. A little bit cool, but that changed too. We also had to deal with fireworks every 15 minutes to help figure out time or something along those lines. I checked my bag close to the start and made my way over to the start line.

Off we went, right at 7 AM and we were off via cannon. That’s enough to wake you up. The first 2.5 miles or so were on a rural road, though there was some down hill to it. After that, we were directed onto the main course, where the full marathon would join in somewhere between 15-16 miles into their race. They started at 6 AM as well, though further up the course. Overall, a fairly flat and scenic course that picked up some residential areas the further along you went. At one point, we passed a guy playing his Baby Grand Piano on his front lawn. I really want to know how he got it out there! I was keeping an OK pace, but hit a wall from miles 8-11. It’s been awhile since I’ve hit the running wall, but my legs weren’t feeling it and the lack of sleep caught up with me some. I was able to pick up the pace the last 2 miles or so and finish in 2:05:14.

Aid Stations: every 2-3 miles the first 7 miles of the race, then every mile the last 10K. Luckily it was cool while I was on course, so it was ok, but it definitely got hot for people who were on course until 12:30.

Post race: met with medals pretty quickly and medical if you needed it. Porta Potties in the shute area if you needed them. You were led around the block to water and family waiting area. Post race party was in Caras Park. The even had free pictures! Not much of line for me, but that picked up pretty quick.

There was also an area for post race food, post race massages and family meeting areas. You could exchange your shirt if you needed a different size (again, why can’t this be done at the expo??). Plenty of food trucks. One thing I wish they had was chocolate milk, I felt like I needed some sooner than waiting to get back to mine at my hotel.

Big 3 Challenge: since I did the Beer Run, the 5K and the Half, I got fun extra swag!

Only downside to this race is I ended up walking about a mile back to my car at Univ. Montana. There may have been shuttles, though I’m not sure. My legs were ok, but if I would have done the full, I would have been hurting a bit more.

Overall, please go do Missoula. It’s well run and well put together. The people are awesome and are willing to help the race out with whatever’s asked (including running their sprinklers for people to run through when it’s too hot). A must do race for anyone, and I hope I can get back next year!

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About drrunner
6 time marathoner, 40 ish time 1/2 marathoner with a bucket list item to hit all 50 states. New title of BibRave Pro member so watch for discounts and products! Do what you love and love what you do!

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