One of the Highest Road Marathons on Planet Earth
Since the inaugural race over Labor Day Weekend in 2008, the Madison Marathon has grown by leaps and bounds. Every year, we host runners from around 40 states and several countries. Nearly one-half of the runners come from outside of Montana which is pretty good considering we had just 200 slots open. The 200 runner cap has been reduced to 100 for the 2022 race season. The reason is due to US Forest Service policy which must regulate the number of runners on public land because the ecosystem on the Gravelly Range is quite pristine. When you see the route and its surrounding environment, you’ll understand that there is a lot to protect.
Every year, the Madison Marathon hosts Marathon Maniacs and 50-Staters. We also get a lot of runners who have made the Madison their first marathon along with many, many return runners (some for the 5th, 6th, and even 7th or 8th time).
Why the success? We take no credit for being good race organizers. We try hard and mostly succeed in doing what we say we will, but it’s not us. It’s the scenery. It’s the elevation. It’s the wildlife (a bear ran in front of a runner one year and there was a wolf on the route a few years ago). It’s the camaraderie. Since there are only 200 runners, you have a chance to meet nearly everyone. It’s the chance to join an elite and unique experience. It’s the extraordinary opportunity to run a marathon at over 9,000 feet on a good quality gravel road under the Big Sky of Montana. It’s the fact that the starting line of the Madison Marathon is at 9,250 feet above sea level and just 13 states have mountain peaks higher than this starting line.
It’s the fact that you are almost guaranteed to get a PW because of the high elevation and the four to five-mile uphills and downhills that never dip below 8,500 feet. It’s also the fact that you won’t care about getting a PW because this marathon really is all about the experience. It’s one of the Highest Road Marathon on Planet Earth (up until a couple years ago we were THE HIGHEST). Long distance running just doesn’t get any better than this.
You want to truly change your life and high five angels. This is your race.