MISSOULA — Registration for the 43rd annual Snow Joke Half Marathon begins Thursday.
The event is scheduled for Feb. 26 in Seeley Lake. Registration can be completed at runsignup.com/Race/MT/SeeleyLake/SnowJokeHalfMarathon. The early bird cost is $41 from Nov. 18-Dec. 31. The cost then raises to $51 until it gets to $61 from Feb. 12-25. It'll be $70 for race-day registration.
This year's race will be 13.1 miles, as is tradition, as it returns to in-person racing.
"We're excited that we'll be live again," Missoulian and Ravalli Republic publisher Jim Strauss said. "Last year, we held it virtually. We heard from a lot of people who missed that tradition of the Seeley Lake winter road race. So, it's great to be teaming with Missoula Run Wild and the community of Seeley Lake, especially the Seeley Lake elementary schools who put on the race."
The long-standing western Montana tradition has never been canceled, be it rain, snow or, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn't technically canceled last year, instead being held as a virtual race in February.
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The race has historically brought about 700 or so runners to Seeley Lake for a local favorite.
While the Snow Joke wasn't one of the races canceled, others were, which forced Run Wild Missoula, which helps produce the Missoulian event, to cut back for a little bit. But the past year, and as of late, the events are starting to come back more as in-person racing seems to be making its full return.
"It is exciting," Run Wild Missoula executive director Trisha Drobeck said. "It's been tough for everyone just not being able to gather or do races in person. ... This year we have really gotten back to doing in-person racing. Everybody wants to see their friends and run with other people, and it really just brought life back into the running community, and I know (the Snow Joke) is a really popular race, and I know runners are going to be super stoked to register and get out there and run in the cold."
The presenting sponsor for this year's race is Bob Ward's. The other sponsors include Blackfoot Communications, Cory's Valley Market, Double Arrow Lodge in Seeley Lake, Park Side Credit Union, Lindey's Steakhouse in Seeley Lake, Pattee Creek Market, Citizens Alliance Bank in Seeley Lake, Chicken Coop, The Seeley Swan Pathfinder, the Filling Station — which is giving each runner a free beer following the race — Missoula Electric Cooperative and Revo gym.