Missoula, Mont. - The Missoula Marathon kicks off July 13th, but signees have already begun with the training process for this year's marathon.
It wasn't looking good a week ago with the blizzard, but on Sunday warm weather and clear pavement made for a great kickoff to the 2014 Missoula Marathon.
"Perfect...This is my absolute favorite running weather," said marathon trainee Thurston Elfstrom.
The Missoula running community started their full and half marathon training this morning with a one to four mile warm-up run.
Run wild Missoula, the marathon organizer had nutritious snacks, water bottles, and T-shirts waiting for the trainees at the finish line at the Runners Edge shop.
"Some people haven't run for years, some people haven't run since high school and it's great to see their smiling faces and their enthusiasm when they get back from their run," explained Run Wild Missoula executive director Eva Dunn-Froebic.
"It gives you lots of motivation to be able to get up and run in May and June, 20 miles on a Sunday morning," added Elfstrom.
This is the largest training class for the marathon, and marks the start to an 18 week preparation for the big stage in July.
"Especially for a full marathon you need about 18 weeks to finish all your proper training so you can get across the finish line," said Dunn-Froebic.
"The last few years I have been at the finish watching people so I definitely envision myself being in their place doing the same thing. I've been inspired by those people so I'd like to inspire other people to do that. I know there are a lot of people who don't think they can do it," said full marathon trainee Kyle Ferris.
Some non-profit teams at the training like Run 4 Kids know how important the marathon is for the community of Missoula.
"The community...I've run this marathon five times now myself. Coming through the finish line is one of the most amazing experiences that I've ever been through. It gives me goose bumps thinking about it," explained Run 4 Kids organizer Chris Carey.
"It becomes such a big part of their lives that they form friendships and bonds with the other people that they train with," added Dunn-Froebic.
"The people...the people keep me coming back year after year...I love it," said Elfstrom.