MISSOULA — Missoula’s running community creates many great athletes and many great volunteers during marathon week. Tim Mosbacher is both.
The retired middle school teacher is taking a break as he runs around the country to once again lend a hand to his hometown race.
Mosbacher started running because he didn’t have a better option.
“I was in middle school back in the day,” said Mosbacher. “One of the P.E. coaches said, ‘You have to do a sport.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I don’t know what do do. Well, I’ll go run.’ So I started doing cross country then, and I was really bad.”
The Billings native improved enough to earn a scholarship at Dickinson State University. He tried a couple marathons in the late 1990s, but then took a break. He hit the road again a decade ago, running his hometown Missoula Marathon, and pretty soon he had found something to chase.
“It wasn’t until probably my fourth one. I said, ‘Well, I’ve done four different states,'” said Mosbacher. “And then I started picking ones I liked. And so once I did my 10th one, then I said, ‘I’m all in.'”
Mosbacher has now run marathons in 47 states. After Portland, Maine in October, the New York City Marathon in November, and a run in Maui in January, the 53-year-old can claim all 50. He has seen most of the country and every kind of race on his trek.
“I’ve run Boston, and I’ve run Chicago, so you’ve got those big ones,” Mosbacher said. “And then I’ve run really small ones. I’ve run one that had, I think, 15 runners in it.”
Ironically, Mosbacher has not run the Missoula Marathon in a decade. For the past six years, he helps the event by organizing and recruiting the elite runners who come to town.
“I go to other people’s communities and take from their community, really, when you’re running there,” said Mosbacher. “And so it’s really neat to give back.”
He admits he wants to run the Missoula Marathon again some day, because he wants a better time. In retirement, he is running faster than ever. Mosbacher won the Eisenhower Marathon in Kansas this year in a personal best time of 2 hours, 48 minutes, nearly 50 minutes faster than his 2009 time in Missoula.
Mosbacher also wants to run Tokyo, London and Berlin to finish off the six majors in the marathon world. He is excited to watch others chase fast times at the Missoula Marathon this week.
KPAX is the official TV station of the race. Watch our live show from the finish line at 8 a.m. Sunday on The CW.