Hundreds of people will hit the pavement this Sunday to prepare for one of the nation’s most respected running events: the Missoula Marathon.

"We have the big training class starting on Sunday, which is always exciting," said Missoula Marathon Race Director Anders Brooker. "We're going to have... I think when it's all said and done and we count registrations... I think we'll have over 300 folks in the training class. Although people have been training for the last few months for the marathon, spring is, for me at least, the official kick-off. People are starting to get excited."

The Missoula marathon has capacity for 1,750 people, the half marathon has room for 4,000 people and both events are more than half full.

"We've never had this many people register by this time," Brooker said. "Both races, both the full and half marathon are close to 60 percent full. Which, by the beginning of March is pretty far along. We even raised the cap on registration too, so more people are allowed into the race this year."

The Missoula Marathon will take place on July 12 and 13.  In 2009 it was named the best marathon in the united states by Runner’s World magazine.