Mayor John Engen sounded the starting gun in the 10k race, the opening salvo in the 42nd annual YMCA Riverbank Run.

Several hundred runners took part in the 10k run, while the vast majority of runners and walkers of all ages were waiting for the 5k and the one mile fun runs.

Mayor Engen said the Riverbank run is one of the events that makes Missoula so special.

"This bank run started when I was 20," Engen laughed at the starting line, just after sending the 10k runners down Higgins Avenue. "It's another of these fabulous things that happen year after year. It's one of the ways we mark the beginning of spring."

Engen said the Riverbank Run was popular long before marathons became a staple in athletic competitions.

"The Riverbank Run was sort of before it's time," Engen said. "Running is such a critical part of what Missoula does today, it's just a great community event. Combined with the Missoula Marathon later in the summer, there's a lot of running going on, and I'm doing a lot of watching."

Missoula Mayor Jon Engen

Winners of the 10k race were Tim Caramore and Rye Palen, while the top finishers in the 5k were Matt Choquette and Nicole Hunt.

Over 3,000 men, women and children ran and walked in the 42nd annual event.