Missoula Marathon to change dates next year due to air quality
MISSOULA, Mont. —
Next year the Missoula Marathon will be held earlier than usual, moving from mid-July to late June. Organizers say it’s to benefit the runners.
For the past 11 years the Missoula Marathon averaged 6,500 participants from around the world.
“I have participated every year since the start. I enjoy it, I run it as a racer and a pacer, in good shape and bad,” Missoula resident Vicky Mix said.
The annual event has always been in mid-July, but for the first time next year organizers are changing the date to June 30. Bad wildfire seasons and thick smoke prompted officials to change the date.
“It makes sense to move back a little bit to reduce the risk of having that wildfire smoke. Two out of the past 11 years we have kind of flirted with that line of the wildfires really being a problem for us,” Run Wild Missoula executive director Tony Banovich said.
The marathon gained recognition in 2011 when it was named the Montana tourism event of the year.
Health professionals say it's best to avoid smoke as much as possible, especially when running.
“When you are in a smoky situation, the more you are active in it, and the more you are taking deep breaths, the more of a dose you are exposing yourself to. It can bypass through your lungs into your blood system and cause all kinds of issues from respiratory, cardiac effects,” air quality specialist Sarah Coefield said.
Organizers say June could be a permanent change, but it depends on other factors in the community.
This year the marathon events are scheduled for July 13-15.