The Missoula Marathon will result in approximately $2 million in benefits to the western Montana economy, and over 100,000 cups of water and Powerade will be handed out at the 15 official aid stations along the course.

Those are just two of the facts presented to the media on Friday afternoon by Race Director Tony Banovich of Run Wild Missoula at the primary sponsor of the event Consumer Direct Care Network.

As of Friday afternoon, the official count of runners registered for the various events is just over 6,100. Of those, the 5k is sold out at 1,400, there are 3,071 running the half marathon and 1,241 participating in the full marathon. The Kids Marathon has drawn nearly 300 runners.

Runners are coming from all 50 states, as well as 14 foreign countries, such as Australia, Brazil, China, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom, however, over 53 percent of all the runners are from Montana.

Banovich said the local economy is booming due to the influx of runners.

“There are over 6,000 people, and about 40 percent of those come from outside of Missoula, Banovich said. “That means they all have to get here by plane or car, they’re staying in hotels, they’re going out and eating dinner. Just over and over, they’re  spending, and through that we’re seeing about $2 million over the weekend coming right here into Missoula.”

Banovich explained why Run Wild Missoula has chosen to move the marathon date from mid-July to late June for the next two years.

“We’re doing that primarily to avoid the potential that we could be affected by wildfire smoke,” he said. “In two of the last three years we’ve dodged the bullet, and it would be devastating for us as an organization and the participants to have to cancel at the last minute because of poor air quality, and you don’t know that till the day before the race. We think that going to mid-June seems to be much safer and significantly reduces that risk that we’re going to have a problem.”

Banovich said the reaction to the date change has been positive from all who have responded.

“We’re had virtually no negative comments,” he said. “It’s been very well supported. People are excited about it and they realize it’s a good way to avoid the smoke, so we think it’s going to go well.”

The Beer Run is Friday evening starting at Caras Park where runners can pick up their registration packets inside the pavilion. The 5k and the Kids Marathon will be Saturday morning starting at 8:00 a.m. The Race Expo will be all day Saturday and marathon and half marathon runners must pick up their packets, because they will not be available on Sunday, since the races start at 6:00 a.m.