Fun Run for Charities-Montana

The Fun Run for Charities race in Red Lodge was the third race we had signed up for to check Montana off of our quest list. Our first one had to be ditched when our plans to head to Glacier National Park in the summer of 2021 didn’t actually materialize due to the influx of “post”-Covid travelers inundating the area making obtaining decent reservations out of reach. Our second race scheduled for July was nixed more directly due to Covid since Mike was actually afflicted and we were forced to stay home.

But finally, we were in Montana, still basking from our phenomenal visit to Yellowstone National Park and ready to actually run in Montana. To be honest, our criteria for choosing a race this time was to just find one that fit our schedule and geographic areas. But as I signed us up for the Fun Run for Charities, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t just some lip service to the “running for charities” idea. There was no entry fee. Instead, participants were able to choose from a long list of local charities and we could then designate a donation amount. We chose a library and a garden charity.

Race day dawned bright and sunny and after a quick drive into town we were in the midst of a festive atmosphere.

The backdrop of the mountains certainly added to the Montana vibe.

No matter how many races we run, the electric pre-race excitement always gets me.

The event offered a 2 mile, 5K, or 10K race option. We ran the 5K which wound through the quaint downtown and residential neighborhoods.

The race was basically flat so we finished feeling upbeat and ready to move on to our next part of our Montana adventure. We hadn’t firmed up plans prior to the race but after some discussion we settled on heading to Bozeman, where we would be flying out of the next day. It ended up being a really great choice. After a post-race breakfast at the Red Lodge Café, we were off.

As we drove from Red Lodge to Bozeman, we swung into one of the quaint coffee kiosks that we have frequently seen in the west. Mike rolled down the window and said, “We’d like two iced vanilla lattes and would you like some bear spray?”

We still had our trusty bear spray with us but knowing we couldn’t fly home with it and not anticipating any bear encounters in downtown Bozeman, we figured we’d try to put it to good use. The barista chuckled but then said, “Sure! We can always use bear spray in Montana.”

When we arrived in Bozeman it was stunningly hot. After checking into our hotel we drove back into the downtown area to peruse the shops and look for a spot for some “refreshments”. We barely made it as far at the Rocking R Bar without evaporating in the heat.

While visiting Yellowstone was epic, we were now ready to embrace the western ambience of Bozeman. Feeling as though we could brave the heat again, we left the bar and proceeded down the street which was conveniently lined with charming shops that we could duck into every few feet to find some respite from the oven-like air.

There’s a chance that visiting the bar before this shop prompted this photo-op that we just couldn’t resist.

We soaked up some more of the western ambience, enjoyed dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill and called it a night. Since we had a late flight, we had a leisurely breakfast and spent a while strolling through the residential streets that abut Main Street. One of the unexpected pleasures of our quest has been observing and learning about the regional architecture. The streets that we walked along had a number of houses with plaques that described the history and significance of the building. It was a lovely way to while away some time before sitting on a plane to travel back to Maine.

As we’ve done our quest, we have often frequented local bookstores to find reading material that pertains to the area we are visiting. I found this enthralling book, “New Women in the Old West” by Winifred Gallagher at Country Bookshelf.

I enjoyed gleaning insight into the women who settled the west. One tidbit that fascinated me was learning that Wyoming was the first state to grant women the right to vote.

A few weeks after arriving home, we were pleasantly surprised to receive these two thank you notes from the charities to which we had donated our race entry fees. Mike and I have discovered that it is really important to us that our races support a meaningful cause, but this was especially direct.

An unexpected bonus to my ridiculously tardy completion of this post is that we received another thank you letter just recently (along with a mention that they would appreciate another donation) from one of the charities we donated to last year. Although we won’t be running the Fun Run for Charities race this year, we continue to feel pleased to have been a part of it.

We are closing in on our goal to run a race in each of the 50 states and it’s beginning to feel a bit surreal and a tad bittersweet. After running in Montana, we only had 5 more states to go! We have since run in 3 more states and I’m hoping to be a bit more timely with blog posts about Nevada, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

State: Montana

Quest Race #: 45

Race: Fun Run for Charities

Date Run: September 3, 2022

The Bottom Line: After three attempts to run a race in Montana, we ended up being very pleased with our quite serendipitous choice. We loved experiencing more of the state and feeling that our race participation had supported two local charities that clearly appreciated our donations.

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