There’s no shortage of excuses to get outdoors between now and October. It’s only a matter of picking and choosing among a long list of adventurous activities. Here are a few good reasons to stay active this spring, summer and fall:
Suit Yourself Fun Run
Kalispell, April 21
Ease into spring with this 5K or 10K that winds around the west side of Glacier High School. Participants are encouraged to walk, jog or run to support the 16 standout speech and debate competitors from Kalispell who are traveling to Alabama in June for the National Forensics League Tournament. Participants are encouraged to wear creative attire. Registration will be open on site at noon, and online at www.getmeregistered.com.
MontanA Spartan Race
Bigfork, May 11
Obstacle racing is the latest fitness craze sweeping the nation, and it officially hits Northwest Montana this spring with the arrival of the Spartan Race. More than 3,000 participants are already registered for this muddy escapade at Flathead Lake Lodge. Organizers are not revealing the exact details of the course that’s “around four miles” and could feature any assortment of boot camp type challenges, including “the epic Gladiator pit.” Waves of 200 competitors will embark into the unknown every 15 minutes starting at 8 a.m. The event will also feature activities on the side such as a climbing wall and slosh pipe challenge. An event for kids is also scheduled, with half-mile and one-mile courses. Spectator tickets are available online or onsite. Registration closes May 8.
Biggest Loser Off-Road Challenge
Bigfork, May 11
In conjunction with the Spartan Race, a separate activity for individuals or teams is being held with former contestants of “The Biggest Loser” television show. The event begins at 9:15 a.m. and sends participants along a three-mile course through Bigfork. There are sections with elevation climbs and obstacles, which are optional. Organizers are describing the event as a motivational exercise focused on helping individuals meet their goals and overcome obstacles.
Whitefish Animal Hospital WAG Race
Whitefish, May 19
This fourth annual tail-wagging event features three options: a USATF certified 15K; a four-mile fun run/walk; and a 1.5-mile fun run/walk. Races begin at 11 a.m. in the parking lot of the Hugh Rogers Wag Park on East Second Street. All proceeds benefit the off-leash dog park. www.wagrace.com
Herron Half Marathon & 10K
Kalispell, June 9
For the second year in a row, Herron Park is hosting 13-mile and 6-mile trail races. The course, which is just minutes from downtown, wraps along forested sections of the popular trail system and featured a noteworthy elevation gain last year. All proceeds benefit the Foys to Blacktail Trails organization. The half marathon begins at 9 a.m. and the 10K launches at 10 a.m. Online registration is open through June 5, and race-day registration will be open on site.
Relay for Life
Whitefish, June 14 | Kalispell, June 21 | Columbia Falls, July 12
Pay homage to cancer survivors, those battling the disease or loved ones lost, by walking or running around the track either individually or as a relay team. Kalispell’s event is at Legends Stadium, while Columbia Falls and Whitefish host at the high school tracks.
Rocky Mountain Bank Summit Classic 5K & 10K
Kalispell, June 15
This 5K and 10K event regularly draws a wide assortment of competitors. At 9 a.m. at The Summit Medical Fitness Center, participants will follow the paved course that follows nearby neighborhoods streets. Registration is open until race day. Call 751-4133 or visit www.kalispellregional.org/summit
Great Northern 5K Fun Run/Walk & Kids Sprint
Kalispell, June 23
This year’s event begins with a kids sprint at 9:30 a.m. The 5K kicks off at 10 a.m. in the Meridian Court Business Complex, near the corner of Center Street and Meridian. The course follows the Rails to Trails system stretching west toward Kila. Proceeds benefit the trail system. Over the years this annual race has raised more than $20,000.
Whitefish Lake Run
Whitefish, June 29
This perennial favorite among racers is in its 36th year. Participants can choose between a 10K and 5K that both begin at 8 a.m. and end at City Beach. The courses trace the shoreline’s roads amid an idyllic outdoor setting. Typically, many of the best runners in the valley compete in this event. Nearly 500 participants ran last year. Registration opens May 1 online and at Sportsman and Ski Haus.
Grateful Nation Montana Freedom 5K Run/Walk
Bigfork, July 4
This 3.1-mile race is a great way to celebrate Independence Day. It begins at 9 a.m. at Brookie’s Cookies and travels along the scenic Swan River trail before ending back in downtown. The event is in its third year since being founded by Grateful Nation Montana, an organization that raises support for children of soldiers killed while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Whitefish, July 6
This multi-sport relay race is a classic homegrown competition that molds together some of the valley’s most popular activities. This year’s 11th annual event is “Wild West” themed, so participants are encouraged to dress in their best western attire. A tent decorating contest and other fun activities are included alongside the competition, which is open to individuals, partners or teams of up to seven people. The Challenge features six legs – 6.7-mile run, 2.5-mile run, 1.98-mile kayak, 9.7-mile road bike, 8-mile mountain bike and 4-mile canoe. The event benefits the Flathead Youth Home. Registration closes July 4.
Lakeside Fair 5K Run/Walk
Lakeside, July 13
This annual 5K takes place during the Lakeside Fair. The start and finish lines are at Volunteer Park. Proceeds from the race and the fair support the Lakeside Community Club, a local charitable organization.
First Montana Bank Flathead Valley Kids Triathlon
Kalispell, July 20
This fun event at Woodland Park is for children between 4 and 13 years old who want to experience a triathlon. It features different distances of swimming, biking and running. Register by July 18 to allow the race director to set up heats and start times for each age group. www.summithealthcenter.com
Boogie to the Bank
Columbia Falls, July 27
Get your boogie on during Heritage Days. This popular 5K and 10K event takes place in the middle of Columbia Falls’ annual community festival. Previous races have drawn almost 400 competitors of all ages, some who even don colorful costumes.
Mike Spence Summit Triathlon/Duathlon
Kalispell, July 28
Organizers tout this triathlon around Foys Lake as one of the most challenging and competitive events in the valley. It includes a half-mile swim, 12.7-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The duathlon features a 3.1-mile run and 12.7-mile bike ride. Racing begins at 9:30 a.m. at Foys Lake. Deadline to register is July 26.
Whitefish Lake Swim
Whitefish, Aug. 11
Brave the lake in this competition, which features a one-mile open water swim that begins and ends at City Beach. All participants must be at least 15 years old. Organizers are encouraging participants to wear wetsuits because the water will likely be in the low 60s. The race begins at 9:15 a.m. and there’s also a mandatory pre-race safety meeting at 8:45 a.m.
Whitefish Friends and Family Fun Run
Whitefish, Aug. 24
The Whitefish Sport Center hosts this lively annual event, featuring a 5K, 10K and one-mile family walk that meander through the neighborhood streets near Smith Fields. Call 862-9372.
Montana Dragon Boat Festival
Bigfork, Sept. 7-8
To say last summer’s first-ever dragon boat festival was successful would be a major understatement. Fifty-six teams, more than 1,200 participants and an estimated 3,000 spectators gathered on a perfect sunny day at Flathead Lake Lodge for Montana’s first taste of dragon boat racing. The event featured live music, exciting races and teams dressed colorfully, embodying the lively spirit that’s become customary for one of the fastest growing sports in the world. This year’s event promises to be even more memorable. Due to popular demand, it is growing into a two-day festival with almost twice as many teams already registered from around the U.S. and Canada. Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a person steering square off in 46-foot-long boats in the largest freshwater lake in the West. Early registration is open through May 1.
Kalispell, Sept. 14
This bike race has a storied history in the Flathead Valley, and Fresh Life Radio — the 91.3 FM Christian radio station of Fresh Life Church – revived the tradition in recent years. Enjoy the scenic views of fall along a new route this year that escapes the city and tours the local outdoors for 100 miles, 50 miles or a short family ride. This year’s event begins at 7:30 a.m. in downtown. Registration opened April 14.
Two Bear Marathon and Half Marathon
Whitefish, Sept. 15
This is quickly becoming one of the more revered marathons in the region, and it’s also one of the final competitions of the year. The marathon starts at Lion Mountain Trailhead of the Whitefish Trail system and sends runners 26.2 miles into town. It’s a challenging course and has a cut-off time of 6.5 hours. This race is limited to 200 participants. The half marathon begins on Upper Whitefish Road and is limited to 250 runners. Registration closes Aug. 15.
5K Run Through History
Kalispell, Sept. 28
This fourth annual event showcases Kalispell’s historic roots with a 5K race that begins at the Museum at Central School and travels through Woodland Park, past Conrad Mansion and along classic east-side neighborhoods. Registration is open through the day of the race. The event begins at 10 a.m.
Run for Your Mama Race
Bigfork, Sept. 29
This family event features a one-mile kids race, a 5K walk/run and a 10K run. It starts at Bigfork High School and travels the Swan River Nature Trail along the scenic Swan River. Kids start at 1 p.m. and the two other races launch at 1:30 p.m. www.bigforkmops.com
Whitefish Legacy Race
Whitefish, Oct. 13
This trail run features four races — a 20K, 11K, 4.5-miler and 1.5-miler — that are based at the Stillwater Mountain Lodge. End the running season with a nice cruise on one of the valley’s best trail systems. Proceeds benefit Whitefish Legacy Partners.
Submit other events at www.competitivetiming.com/whitefish-legacy-race
Submit other events at www.flatheadevents.net
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