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The Governor's Cup in Helena celebrates 50 years this June

Posted at 4:41 PM, May 20, 2024

HELENA — The Governor’s Cup will celebrate 50 years on Saturday, June 8. The event is presented annually by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana.

The first Governor’s Cup was held in Bozeman on Memorial Day in 1974 with less than 100 runners participating.

“As the name would suggest, the Governor’s Cup was founded by, at that time, Governor Thomas Judge. His focus on health, wellness and lifetime sports developed this run to encourage fitness and physical activity across Montana,” Governor’s Cup race director Bryan Haines told MTN.

The following year the event was held in Missoula. In 1976 the race came to Helena, where it would remain.

Blue Cross took over managing the race in 1979.

“We’re very proud to present the race,” Haines said. “It really represents everything we believe in as far as physical fitness, mental wellness, active communities, active families and just making communities healthier as a whole.”

Since the Governor’s Cup creation, hundreds of thousands of runners have participated in the various races. The event includes races for all ability levels, from the marathon to the fun run. The marathon meets the Boston Marathon qualifying criteria.

The annual Governor’s Cup is the primary fundraiser for the Caring Foundation of Montana. The foundation supports rural communities and underserved areas in Montana by providing access to critical services regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.

For the 50th anniversary, organizers are anticipating around 2,300 runners for the races, including more than 130 marathon runners. Organizers expect the number of runners will continue to grow leading up to race day.

More information about how to register for one of the races can be found here. Packet pickup will be on Friday, June 7 at the Double Tree by Hilton in downtown Helena.

Haines said one of his favorite parts of the Governor’s Cup is how it is truly a family event with generations participating.

“I’ve seen some kids who started with our kids marathon program to running 5Ks. So they’re getting their families together and running a 5K or a 10K,” Haines said. “Just seeing names year after year and families grow year after year is just a really neat experience.”

The Governor’s Cup would not be possible without the volunteers. Organizers say it takes around 300 volunteers to make the Governor’s Cup a reality.

There is still a great need for volunteers this year, and just like the races themselves, there are volunteer positions for all abilities.

More information on volunteer opportunities can be found on the Governor’s Cup website.