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Montanans win Missoula Marathon

Mark Messmer and Keely Baker won the Missoula Marathon Sunday.

Messmer is a Missoula man who ran for both Sentinel High School and the University of Montana. Baker is from Great Falls and her parents, brother, husband and grandpa all made the trip to cheer her on.

“I’ve done a couple marathons before this but anyone in Montana that talks about marathons knows that the Missoula Marathon is one of the best. So all year, one of my top goals was to win this marathon so it’s like a dream come true,” said Baker.

Messmer is no stranger to his competition in the Missoula Marathon, having run against many of the top finishers in the past. Polson's Jason Delaney came in second.

“I know Jason finishes really strong so I was a little worried. A couple years ago, he got me right at the corner, coming onto the bridge and he ended up third, I was fourth that year. So, I knew he was coming. I just didn’t know where he’d be,” said Messmer.

Messmer said the bulk of his training started in January and he kept building all spring. He had a couple of weeks where he ran over 100 miles but he says all you can do when race day comes is hope for the best.

“You never really know what can happen in 26 miles. I mean, I think everyone out there is hurting and cramping in different spots along the course and it was hot and so you just have to get through it mentally and physically and just keep working forward,” said Messmer.

“I was feeling pretty bad with 10 miles to go which is really early so I had to stop and stretch a couple times and it was a lot of positive self-talks (telling myself), ‘you got this. You can do it,’” said Baker.

Polson resident Cynthia Lauren Arnold is hoping her run Sunday got her an unofficial world record. That’s because she ran the 26 miles while pushing her three children in a triple stroller.

“I had three kids and I wanted to run all summer and we just thought well if I am going to train with a triple, I might as well race with a triple,” said Arnold.

Arnold said she likes to have her kids see her out exercising and being healthy.

A number of residents lined the course to cheer on the competitors.

"26.2 miles is a good hike. I couldn't do it. I know that. So, I root for anybody and everybody that attempts it, finishes it and gives it their all," said resident Kim Jessen.

"I just like looking out my window in the early morning and seeing a bunch of women, children and men walking along," said another Missoula resident, Debra Sears.

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