If the extent of your Montana running motivation is only when cornered by a grizzly bear, you might feel "left out" during "Marathon Weekend" in Missoula.

However, there's no reason to feel left out. Thousands have played a key role without ever lacing up a pair of running shoes.

And with the race approaching its 20th anniversary, volunteering has even become a generational tradition for some families.

READ MORE: Meet the 91-year Old Who Runs the Missoula Marathon

KMPT-AM logo
Get our free mobile app

It takes a lot of people to keep the Marathon "running"

When the hundreds of full, and half, marathon runners take off on Sunday morning, June 30th, hundreds more people will be lining the courses and manning the start and finish lines.

"We have a huge contingent of volunteers," explains Race Director Trisha Drobeck. "We have about 800 positions and typically get anywhere from 600 to 700 people to fill those positions."

Some people love the event so much that they'll volunteer for several jobs during race week.

Families welcome too

Volunteers can man aid stations, handing out water, and energy bars to help runners, answer questions and give directions. More than anything, cheer on the runners. Drobeck says that's where families get involved.

"A lot of people bring their family along too. You can bring your two-year-old and we have kids shirts and it's just a fun family affair and cheer on the runners."

Missoula Marathon photo
Missoula Marathon photo

"I've seen cases where entire families will take on one of the aid stations and boy, they're really into the bottles and all those things. It's fun to watch."

In some cases, runners groups like Go Run Missoula will bring out the youngsters to run and help with the "big" races.

Volunteers get swag too

"We have tons of stuff, Drobeck explains. "You get a sweet T-shirt. We have a huge volunteer party out at Big Sky Brewing. We do amazing raffle and. It's just a great way to be a part of the community and I think it's the reason why our volunteers come back."

And Drobeck tells me it's ok if past volunteers want to switch it up too.

"Totally. Yeah. I mean, if you wanna pick up trash and that's your, thing, go for it," she says with her trademark smile.

To learn more about volunteering for the Missoula Marathon, visit the Marathon website.

14 Food Trucks To Try In Missoula

Gallery Credit: Ace Sauerwein