The Governor’s Cup is still going strong, sparking fitness fires

Each year, we proudly present the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana Governor’s Cup road races to provide a fun and festive opportunity for folks to get competitive juices flowing or to simply participate in a healthy activity.

We’re pleased to announce the 2015 Governor’s Cup was a great success as more than 3,000 participants from more than 30 states and three countries took part in June, thanks in large part to a massive volunteer effort from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana employees and many others in the community. About 400 volunteers helped participants at packet pickup, served as course guards, handed out water and greeted runners and walkers at the finish line.

With some small adjustments moving forward to continue to improve the experience, we’re hoping for even bigger fun and competition in 2016!

As they say, all it takes to start a fire is a little spark. That’s the thought behind the Governor’s Cup, and for more than 40 years, the road races have sparked fitness fires inside the bellies of numerous participants in the marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, Kids Marathon and Fun Run.

Dating back to the first race in 1974, the Governor’s Cup has seen more than 125,000 participants cross the finish line with another 3,000 expected to take part on June 10-11, 2016. That’s a lot of sparks! More importantly, most of those sparks have resulted in fires still burning hot.

Here are a few of the highlights from 2015:

  • Helena’s Heather Lieberg, an Olympic Trials qualifier in the marathon who got her start as a runner at the Gov Cup, won the women’s 10K in 34 minutes, 24 seconds to establish a new standard in that event. She also owns the Gov Cup women’s records in the marathon (2:45:59) and half marathon (1:17:25).
  • Missoula’s Collin Fehr, the University of Montana cross country and distance coach, added to his Gov Cup successes by smashing a long-time men’s record in the half marathon. He won in 1:10:08 to erase a mark of 1:10:45 that had stood since 1978.
  • We introduced the Kids Marathon program,Kids marathon which was a great success as about 500 Helena area elementary school students took part in training at their schools throughout the spring and capped it all off with a 1-mile run to complete the 26-mile marathon distance. Smiles were everywhere and we’re excited to continue building that program in the coming years.
  • For the first time since 1998, both marathon champions came from other states. Santa Rosa, California’s Sarah Hallas won the women’s title in 2:57:15, which ranks sixth on the Gov Cup’s all-time list. Meanwhile, Baker City, Oregon’s Mike Knutson ran away with the men’s title in 2:34:17.
  • Warm Spring’s Nicole Hunt, one of our most gracious and energetic runners, won her 10th 5K title at the age of 45 in 18:24.
  • Helena’s Pat Judge, son of the late Governor Tom Judge, ran in his 36th consecutive Governor’s Cup and won the master’s division in the men’s 5K. His father was a leading figure in the creation of the Governor’s Cup in the 1970s.
  • We debuted new course fencing along the finishing chute up Helena’s Last Chance Gulch that added a touch of class and more safety for our participants and spectators.

If you’re interested in running or walking in the 2016 Governor’s Cup event,Half marathon head on over to www.govcupmt.com to learn more about the races or to register. While you’re on the website, be sure to check out the event pages, where we recently posted course preview videos to give folks a better sense of what to expect on race day.

Tell us about your Governor's Cup experience.

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