Changing Lanes

Historic Governor's Cup to Support New Foundation with New Marathon, Half-Marathon Courses

The 44th annual Governor’s Cup, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT), welcomed runners and walkers from across Montana and the U.S. to Helena in June, and provided them with an opportunity to challenge themselves over distances of 1 mile to 26.2 miles.

More than 3,000 participated in the Governor’s Cup’s wide-ranging list of events – marathon, half marathon, marathon relay, 10K, 5K, Fun Run and Kids Marathon – and the road race even hosted a Guinness World Record.

Kalispell’s Theresa Marie Pitts, 38, finished the half marathon in 2 hours, 1 minute, 11.53 seconds, pushing her three kids in a stroller and unofficially breaking the world record for “fastest half-marathon while pushing a triple pram stroller.” The mark, established on Saturday, June 10, bettered the previous record by about 8 seconds.

Pitts was pushing her kids, Evan, 4, Anders, 2, and Avi, 4 months.

“It was a good challenge,” Pitts told the Helena Independent Record. “It was beautiful and bru-ti-ful. It was hard at the end. I had to dig deep and push it. I’m very, very happy with my time. It turned out great.”

Also, Governor Steve Bullock celebrated his love of running and passion for fitness by running the half marathon and then joining his youngest of two daughters in the 5K.

The Kids Marathon, which features a free training and reward program at local schools, grew to nearly 1,500 participants in just its third year. The program started with 500 participants in 2015 and doubled in size to 1,000 in 2016. Students in Helena area elementary schools ran with their classmates in practices organized at their respective schools throughout April and May, and came together on Friday, June 9 to run 1 mile together to mark the end of their marathon. All participants received tokens at each practice, a T-shirt and a finisher’s medal after completing the 1-mile run.

Complete results of the 2017 event and details about registering for the 2018 races are available at govcupmt.com.

This is an exciting period of time for the Governor’s Cup... The partnership with the Caring Foundation will allow us to extend that reach to even more Montanans.

Looking ahead

A new era of the Governor’s Cup begins in 2018 when the annual running and walking event changes course – both on the roads and as a driving force to help Montana become a healthier place to live.

The road race provides Montanans and many others from across the nation with an opportunity to set fitness goals, celebrate their own health and take aim at personal records.

Beginning in 2018, participation in the Governor’s Cup will not only feed those passions and goals, but impact the health of Montanans as well. Race registration fees and corporate sponsorships for the event will provide support for the Caring Foundation of Montana℠, a new foundation established by BCBSMT, and its mission to improve the health and wellness of all Montanans.

The Caring Foundation’s fundraising efforts will help expand the Care Van program, BCBSMT’s mobile vaccination unit, and the main fundraising event each year will be the Governor’s Cup. That means the Helena event and its participants will have a direct impact on the health of its participants and Montanans hundreds of miles further down the road.

“This is an exciting period of time for the Governor’s Cup,” said Governor’s Cup Race Director Bryan Haines. “The course changes, especially to the marathon and half marathon, will provide runners a fresh, yet challenging race experience. In addition, the overall goal of the Governor’s Cup has always been to improve fitness and health. The partnership with the Caring Foundation will allow us to extend that reach to even more Montanans.”

The Governor’s Cup is also changing course in a more literal way. The marathon and half-marathon courses will now start south of Helena near Jefferson City and finish along the popular 10K and 5K routes. This is due to logistical and safety considerations and to position the event for future growth.

  • Marathon: The new start is located about three miles southwest of Jefferson City, near the historic mining town of Wickes. Runners will stride through Jefferson City, Clancy and Montana City before entering Helena and joining the 10K course for the final three miles to the finish on Helena’s historic Walking Mall. The new route will offer participants a challenge unique to Helena’s surrounding rural landscape, taking them past many of Helena’s historic landmarks along the way.
  • Half-Marathon: The race starts in Clancy and joins the marathon course after a short jaunt out of Clancy. Like the marathon course, the half marathon takes full advantage of the area’s topography and beauty.
  • 10K and 5K: Both courses will now start near the Holter Art Museum in downtown Helena before navigating toward the Capitol. Some moderate changes to both courses will take participants to some new neighborhoods, but will leave large portions of the races unchanged.

With the event expected to grow in the coming years, the new marathon and half-marathon courses set the Governor’s Cup on a new path for the future, while providing a scenic route to a popular finish line where miners struck gold in 1864 – which race champions still do every June.