HELENA — As runners crossed the finish line at the Governor's Cup for the first time in more than a year, it was a special day for runners that got the chance to cross the line on Saturday, regardless of the race they ran or how many iterations of the Governor's Cup they've run.
"Finishing right here, and I didn't know my family was going to be here -- my husband and daughter and everyone's here -- it was awesome," said women's marathon winner Heather Lieberg. "And I was happy to be done. So I was like, 'Thank God.'"
"It was incredible. I was crying, basically. ... I haven't had a personal best in three years in the marathon. I've had a couple of poor ones," said Missoula native and men's marathon winner Keith Miller. "I didn't honestly have a great training cycle. I had some poor, poor workouts in the last couple months, and I wasn't feeling great. I was kind of nervous going into this race."
For one man that MTN spoke to, the Governor's Cup symbolized so much more.
"Last year I was so sick with COVID-19, I could barely get out of bed, to be honest, which is why this race meant so much to me this year," said Clay Springmeyer, a Helena native. "It felt like a lot more than just a race to me, because just three years ago, I had a debilitating spinal injury and lost my ability to walk. Had to get spinal surgery just to be able to be upright again -- and from not even knowing if I could walk again to being able to run a half-marathon. It feels like a dream come true."