Picture-perfect conditions greeted runners at the 49th annual Governor’s Cup, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana (BCBSMT). Runners from across the state and country converged June 9 - 10 on Helena, with the event again serving as the primary fundraiser for the Caring Foundation of Montana®.
Gov Cup weekend started with the Kids Marathon Final Mile and Fun Run at Centennial Park, and a sea of blue shirts motored around the course. Nearly 2,400 students from 15 elementary schools in Helena and the surrounding area partipated in the six-week Kids Marathon training program.
Almost every race category on Saturday saw impressive match-ups between racers who are no strangers to the Governor’s Cup podium. The first runner to cross the finish line at Anchor Park was 22-year-old Will McGonigal of Hailey, Idaho, who collected the men’s half marathon win. From there, Montana runners dominated the podium.
The women’s half marathon went to Helena’s Mandy Fellenz. Alison FitzSimmons of Canyon Creek took home her second consecutive women’s marathon title, besting her 2022 time by 10 minutes. The men’s marathon podium was a family affair, with Carroll College and Helena High alum Layne Ryerson of Manhattan bringing home the win. He was just six minutes ahead of his brother Clayton Ryerson, who took third.
Perhaps the most familiar racer to cross the finish line was Pat Judge, who completed his 43rd consecutive Governor’s Cup. Pat’s father, Gov. Thomas Judge, helped establish the Governor’s Cup in 1974 as a part of the state’s inaugural Council on Physical Fitness, Recreation, and Lifetime Sports.
“There’s nothing like being at the finish line of the Governor’s Cup and seeing that sense of accomplishment,” says Bryan Haines, the Governor’s Cup race director. “This is where families are coming together, people are realizing their fitness goals, setting personal records, enjoying the outdoors and being active in such a beautiful environment.”
Race photos are available for both the Kids Marathon and Mile Fun Run as well as the main races. Runners can search for their photos by bib number and download them for free. Additionally, full results from the Governor’s Cup have been posted.
The 2023 edition of the Governor’s Cup raised more than $95,000 through race registration fees and sponsorships. The funds allow the foundation to help ensure Montanans have access to preventive health care services, regardless of insurance coverage or ability to pay.
Nearly 300 volunteers donated their time to help make the race a success and ensure runners safely made their way from the starting line to the finish. The volunteers included nearly 60 BCBSMT employees.
The Governor’s Cup celebrates its 50th anniversary next year with a big celebration planned for June 7 - 8, 2024. Registration opens later this fall. Learn more about the event at www.govcupmt.com.