FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Two Records Set and Repeat Champions at Sold Out Madison Marathon
On a crystal clear day at over 9,000 feet above sea level in the Gravelly
Mountains of the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest, Debbie Gibson from
Helena successfully defended her marathon title and Eric Huff from Sheridan
Montana won the men's event for a second time at the 4th Annual Madison
Marathon on Sunday, July 24.
Huff and Gibson were among the 200 runners who participated in this year's
Madison Marathon. The race sold out nearly one month before race day.
Runners from 27 states, Germany, and Canada traveled to Madison County for
the event which is billed as the highest road marathon in America. The
starting line of the Madison Marathon is over 9,200 feet. There are only
13 states with mountain peaks higher. The route reaches as high as 9,587
feet before finishing at 8,550 at Clover Meadows in the Beaverhead
Deerlodge National Forest. The entire race is run on a good quality gravel
Both Huff and Gibson said the race was exceptionally challenging and not
just the elevation.
"I guess somehow after a year I seem to forget how incredibly hard that
last out and back is," said Gibson by email after the race. Gibson won the
event in 2010. Huff won in 2009. He had cramped up in 2010 due to a lack
of water, but was better prepared this year.
"I actually felt quite good," said Huff in a phone interview. "I train at
elevation so I was ready for it." Huff repeated, however, his earlier
claims that the back half of the course was exceptionally challenging due
to the long up hills.
In the half marathon, two records were set. Thomas Jodoin from Helena set
a blistering pace early on and maintained it to win the half marathon in a
record time of 1h 26.28. This beat the previous record, set by two time
defending champion David Gregory from the Madison Valley, by 12 minutes.
Gregory placed fourth in this year's race. In the women's division, Megan
Ross, an 18 year old from Franklin Massachusetts, won the race in a record
time of 1h 39.17 which beat the previous record by more than 10 minutes.
Ross, who had just graduated from high school, asked her mother for a
family vacation to Montana in order to run in the Madison Marathon as her
graduation gift. Ross's 15-year old sister, mother, and an aunt all
participated in the race.
The race attracted several interesting runners such as Larry Macon and
Henry Rueden who both have run over 700 marathons in their careers. Macon
is the current Guiness Book of World Record's holder for the most marathons
in a calendar year (107). Roland Kurz travelled all the way from
Hirllingen Germany for the race. Cliff Burgess, a 73 year old runner from
Texas, drove to Madison County specifically for the race. Burgess won the
prize for the oldest runner to participate in the Madison Marathon.
The Madison is on the radar scope of two prominent marathon running groups
- the 50 State Club and the Marathon Maniacs. Vincent Ma, a member of
Marathon Maniacs, the 100 Marathon Club, and a 50 stater, is shooting to
complete a marathon in all 50 states within 2011. The Madison Marathon was
his Montana marathon (and #106 overall) and right after finishing he drove
to Salt Lake City to run in the Dessert News Marathon to cross Utah off his
list of states. Macon was also scheduled to run the Dessert News Marathon.
"The race went about as well as I could have hoped for," said Sam Korsmoe,
race director of the Madison Marathon and the executive director of the
Madison County Economic Development Council. "We had just 93 runners last
year so we more than doubled in size in just one year. This meant there
were a lot of unknown logistic issues that we had to be prepared for," said
Korsmoe who gave the credit to an incredible group of Madison County