WHITEFISH — The Whitefish Marathon returned on Saturday after missing last year's event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers said this has been their biggest outcome yet with more than 1,000 participants, and runners said they have a different appreciation this year -- not for how they finish, but just for simply being at the race.
“It’s good to have such a normal piece of my life back. It just felt really weird last year not having a race on the calendar, not having a reason to put those extra miles on, so to actually have events to train for this year it’s like, 'Oh yeah, OK, this is life as normal again,'“ said Kalispell native Joshua Johnson.
People participated in all levels and ages, but what stood out the most was the sense of community that returned.
"It’s really fun look at all the people, there is so many people here, and everybody is having a great time, from people who walk the race to people who are elites athletes. I think it fits everybody,” said Jodi Strash.
Each runner had a different purpose, as did the spectators cheering them on. And as always, proud moms filled up the front row.
“I am very excited. We’re rooting for my daughter Valerie and her best friend Alicia. It’s her 40th birthday (Saturday) and my daughter Valerie turned 40 a couple weeks ago, so this is her 40 strong marathon,” said Susan Smith.