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The 2016 Governor’s Cup, presented annually by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, proved to be a great success as more than 3,000 people stretched out their legs Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11 on Helena’s historic city streets and scenic rural roads.
On Friday, about 800 people participated in the Kids Marathon and Fun Run at Centennial Park. Kids Marathon participants used the 1-mile run to complete a free six-week training program at Helena-area elementary schools. More than 1,000 students participated in the training program we supported and the majority of those kids showed up Friday for fun activities, the fun run and medals at the finish line.
On Saturday, highlights included a tight battle for the top spot in the men’s marathon by champion Jason Delaney and runner-up Collin Fehr. Also, Mary Owen took top honors on the women’s side with the 10th-fastest time in event history (3 hours, 1 minute, 4 seconds). And Dan Jackson collected two wins, claiming the 10k and 5k titles, while Heather Lieberg joined some elite company in claiming a win at a fourth distance.
But the event wouldn’t be possible without amazing support from BCBSMT employees, Helena businesses and community members. Special thanks goes out from Governor’s Cup organizers to the more than 400 volunteers and gracious sponsors who make the event possible year after year.
Now, on to the highlights!
Delaney overtakes Fehr: Polson’s Jason Delaney trailed Missoula’s Collin Fehr through most of the marathon, but moved past the 2014 champion after the 21-mile mark and pulled away at mile 23 to win by slightly more than a minute in 2:35:26. Fehr, meanwhile, crossed the finish line in 2:36:30, while Helena’s Mark Handelman and Matthew Roberts placed third (2:47:55) and fourth (2:55:04).
Owen puts name in top 10 list: Billings resident and Broadus native Mary Owen claimed her second championship in the women’s Governor’s Cup marathon, and did it with the 10th fastest time in event history. She crossed the finish line in 3:01:04, which was about 6 minutes faster than a personal best she established in winning the 2014 title. “It was an awesome experience, and in any race my goal is to better myself, which I did,” she told the Helena Independent Record. “I was hoping to get under three hours, but this is a very challenging course.” Bozeman’s Jenny Wolfe, the reigning Bozeman Marathon champion, was second in 3:11:09. Owen also has won two Montana Marathon championships in Billings.
Lieberg wins, misses record: Helena’s Heather Lieberg entered the Governor’s Cup hoping to claim her fourth event record, but fell short despite picking up a dominant victory in the 5k with a time of 17:34. That’s the fifth-fastest time in event history. She did join Karen Sanford-Gall as the only women to win at four different Governor’s Cup distances. Lieberg owns Gov Cup records in the marathon (2:45:59), half marathon (1:17:25) and 10k (34:25).
Jackson doubles up: Bozeman’s Dan Jackson cruised to a big win in the 10k in 34:04, then returned less than two hours later to claim the 5k title in 15:34. He is the eighth runner in history to complete the double win, joining Jacob Bradosky in 2012, Lisa Minnehan in 2011, Thomas Jodoin in 2010, John Ricardi in 2008, Josh Ricardi in 2005, Adam Herr in 1994 and Debbie Magilke in 1991.
37 in a row: Helena’s Pat Judge, 46, ran the Governor’s Cup for the 37th straight year and placed seventh in the men’s 10k to claim the master’s title in 39:42.
Polson Power: Cynthia Arnold won the women’s half marathon (and finished first overall) to join marathon winner Jason Delaney as champions from Polson. Arnold’s time was 1:25:07. Helena’s Bryce Thomas claimed the men’s crown in 1:27:16.
Fehr Game: While Collin Fehr was en route to a runner-up finish in the marathon, his wife Katrina took the top spot in the women’s 10k, an event she also won in 2012. Katrina Fehr completed the race in 39:50 to win by nearly 5 minutes.
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