Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy! 

For the seventh installment of the series we catch up with Kim O’Connor. Kim is a teacher at Lewis and Clark Elementary, a mom, a Big Dipper Running Team athlete, and, overall, a great person. Read on to learn how Kim is taking care of herself and staying connected to her students, family, and friends during these strange times.

Kim jumping for joy on a run

 

First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?

I’ve lived in Missoula since 1993 when I moved here to go to UM.

Are you training for an upcoming race? If so, has it been canceled or postponed? If so, have you set any new goals?

The spring races I had planned to run are canceled or postponed. I’ll run 11 Miles to Paradise this fall. It will be fun to see the course at a different time of year. I always enjoy running with spring sprouting, but fall will be great too. I am doing my first 50K at The Rut in September. Fingers crossed!

What are you doing to maintain motivation and stay active right now?

Running, talking with friends, taking time for walks and hikes. I usually have time for all this. I’m finding the slow down nice. My dogs are really happy with this situation.

You are a teacher, correct? Where do you teach and which grades? As a teacher what does your workday look like during the quarantine?

I am. I teach 4th grade at Lewis and Clark School. Teaching from home is so different. I miss my students so much, and am sad I won’t get all the days with them. That being said, I think we’re making it work as well as we can.

My learning curve for technology has been steep! I see my kids through Zoom meetings and communicate through email. It’s such an unnatural way of teaching. I sit in front of the computer a lot of the day, meeting with them or correcting the work they send me or planning for the following week. I realized after week one that regular breaks outside are the only way to not feel crazy by the end of the day.

As a mom are you getting creative in finding ways to stay active with your family?

My boys are doing a lot of trampoline time and have set up some pretty cool parkour courses in the backyard. We’ve also been hiking and taking a lot of walks. Time at the creek has been helpful too. I often have them bike with me while I run. We go up to the bike track on Lincoln Hills and I do laps on the trail while they ride. Not my favorite run, but sometimes you take what you can get.

How are you investing in your mental health right now?

I am recording my gratitudes daily. I’m getting outside many times throughout the day. One of my neighbors asked me if I was injured since I’ve been walking so much. I’m also trying to be forgiving when I don’t have my best day. I’m thinking if I’m productive and can keep it together most days, that’s pretty good.

What are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your life in recent weeks? (professionally, at home, etc.)

My job is the biggest change right now. I love teaching and it’s really hard to teach remotely. I can create lessons, but the teaching is so different. I miss my students and my colleagues. Helping my own kids with their work can be challenging too. I have found my youngest kid needs to take lots of breaks to stay focused. And that reading Romeo and Juliet aloud is just as painful as it was in high school.

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced in the last couple of weeks you would like to share?

There are silver linings for sure. First of all, my husband and I both have our jobs, and we’re all healthy. I’m always pretty grateful for my job and living in Missoula, but this reinforces it. The chance to slow down has been nice. Spring is usually such a busy time and we find ourselves all going in different directions sometimes. The forced stillness has been good. I’m not saying there haven’t been frustrating days, but, most days, I can see the extra family time as a gift.

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

We’ve had a lot more time for board games and puzzles. I also have more reading time than usual. I’m listening to my usual favorite podcasts like The Moth and Fresh Air, and my new favorite, Office Ladies. Pam and Angela from The Office review an episode of the show each week. Time suck? I’m calling it a brain break/ guilty pleasure.

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing?

I have a standing date with a couple friends to meet on Wednesdays and socially distance in a backyard. I’ve also been doing walk breaks with one of my neighbors who is also a colleague of mine. I also have more time to catch up with friends on the phone.

Do you have a favorite place to run in Missoula?

I live near the North Hills so that is often a go- to. I’ve been venturing over to Mount Jumbo too. I usually run on Sentinel from school at least once a week. I’m missing that.

What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

I miss running with my friends. Running is usually a very social activity for me and I am missing that part of my life. Maybe I didn’t realize how much I rely on that time and those connections. It has been great to see so many people out moving. I imagine social distancing is much easier in Missoula. We’re lucky!
We enjoyed getting to hear from Kim and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider sharing this article with them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.


This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!


This week, Run Wild Missoula and the Runner’s Edge,  in partnership with GU, challenge you to run Missoula’s Four Bridges Loop. Enjoy the scenic river vistas and mountain views along some of Missoula’s favorite paved paths. One random participant and the male and female that earn the fastest times along this route will be awarded a prize package from GU.


Rules:

1. Join the GU Strava Club here to be eligible to receive a prize package from GU!

2. Run or walk to the start of the Strava Segment (Boat Ramp in Silver Park)

3. Follow the route (directions below)

4. Share this photo on your Instagram/Facebook story or feed. Be sure to tag @runnersedgemt and @runwildmissoula and use the hashtags #MoreThanRun and #LaceEmUp to be featured!

*If you would like for us to repost your photo onto our Instagram Feed, make sure your account is public.


Categories & Awards:

  • The fastest male & the fastest female will both win prize packages from GU.
  • One random participant will be selected to win a prize package from GU.

Directions:

This segment starts and finishes at the Silver Park Boat Ramp, crossing the California Street bridge, Russell Street Bridge, the Madison Street Footbridge, and the Orange Street Bridge–in that order! This segment has quite a few turns, but it is the only route in town where you can cross 4 bridges and stay almost entirely on the paths.  

To start, begin at the Silver Park Boat Ramp, heading west on the paved path toward California Street Bridge. Turn right to cross over the bridge, and then turn left to continue on the paved path towards the Russell Street Bridge.

Head up the ramp and onto Russell Street Bridge (note, Russell Street Bridge is currently under construction. Please obey traffic laws!) continue running straight until you reach Dakota Street. Turn left onto Dakota and veer left to merge onto the Milwaukee Path, heading east.

Continue east on the Milwaukee Path until you reach the Madison Street footbridge. Turn left to cross the Madison Street footbridge and then turn left onto the Riverfront Trail, heading west.

Run through Kiwanis Park on the paved cut through, following the Riverfront Trail until you reach its endpoint. Run up to Front Street, turn right and turn right again onto the Orange Street Bridge. After Orange Street Bridge, turn right onto Cregg Lane.

Follow the sidewalk until you reach the blacktop path about 100 meters after you run under the old railroad bridge. Turn onto the blacktop paved path and run alongside the baseball stadium until you reach your original starting point. The entire loop is a little over 4 miles. To be eligible for a prize, you must complete the entire segment from start to finish.



Make sure you view the map to dial in the route before you head out. 


All participants in this challenge must practice proper social distancing. This includes running or walking alone (unless with those from your home), keeping a 6’ distance from ALL people you encounter along the way, and letting people know you are coming up behind them to give them time to step to the side of the path. Also, please avoid busier times of day by running or walking earlier or later in the day. If somewhere looks too crowded – please go somewhere else!


Questions? Email adam@runnersedgemt.com

Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy! 

For the sixth installment of the series we catch up with Ian Carlson. Ian recently ran a marathon around the streets of Missoula to fill the void of not being able to run the Boston marathon this spring, which he had qualified and registered for. Read on to learn more about Ian’s experience running his own personal Boston Marathon in Missoula, and other ways he is adapting during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ian during his Boston Marathon in Missoula with some socially distanced spectators

 

First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?

46 years. I was born and raised here.

What do you do for work and has it been affected by the COVID-19 crisis?

I am a software engineer for Textron Systems. Aside from our team shifting work from our local office to home, not a whole lot has changed.  I have been spending some additional time getting the proper safety protocols and equipment in place so that when we do get the go ahead to resume working from the local office, we will be ready. I do have to say I have taken a liking to the many virtual happy hours with my friends and family. We have certainly found fun and interesting ways to stay connected.

You were signed up for the Boston Marathon this year, but it was postponed due to COVID-19. We are sorry to hear that. Would this have been your first Boston Marathon?

Yea, I am still planning on running the actual Boston course this September 14th if things settle down by then.

We heard that you decided to still run a marathon last weekend here in Missoula on the original Boston Marathon date. Congrats! In a few sentences tell us how it went.

Overall the race was great! The weather was beautiful, and a perfect starting temperature at 39 degrees. I would not have minded a little cloud cover to keep thing cool, but instead I got beautiful spring sunshine. I would have liked to have been a bit faster overall, but seeing all my friends around the course more than made up for it. Don’t worry they all practiced expert level social distancing!

Did you create a fun route or do loops in a certain area?

One of my overall goals was to run by as many of my running peeps houses to maximize the fun. The course ended up with a couple out and backs, but overall it looped around the valley quite nicely. I think it looks sort of like a chicken eating a worm with a TV antenna on its head

Did you have support from friends or family?

I received way more support than I could have ever dreamed of. There were a lot of great signs, beautiful smiles, and serious cowbell during my race. I let all my friends and family know when I was planning on running by their houses to limit any waiting time, and sure enough they were all out there cheering me on. You may have seen them scattered all throughout Missoula, and at first glance you might have even mistaken them for protesters, but with the craziest signs and cowbell. Many even managed to track me around town and ambush me in the most unexpected places. This was the best surprise of all. I have to give a big shout out to my wife Sara as she made sure everyone knew where they all could cheer me on, and organized several surprise locations. They certainly kept my spirits up! Favorite sign “Mortuary Ahead… Look Alive”.

Now that you’ve run the marathon what are you doing to maintain motivation? Do you have any other fun goals on the horizon?

With warmer temps coming and the deeper trails finally clearing up I will be heading out in the mountains a bit more. I suppose my big goal for the year is to stay trained and get some hill strength so I can crush the Hootenanny in October. Of course, Boston will be on my mind all year as well.

Other than running, are there other ways you are investing in your physical or mental health right now?

I should probably do more in this area. I have been trying to keep in touch with friends and family through virtual means as much as possible.

What are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your life in recent weeks? 

I can’t say it’s changed my life all that much aside from the social distancing that we all must endure. I guess every day I am looking to discover what has changed from the days before.

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic you would like to share?

I am well fed both physically and mentally. I am amazed on how well all my kids are stepping up and helping each other out. They have been just awesome! My daily commute is down to 30 seconds, 5 seconds if I run.

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

Friends on Strava! Just being able to see people are still at it, cranking out fast miles, keeps me going. Audio books, I always have a book loaded up on my phone for the longer runs as well.

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing?

Lots of virtual happy hours and games.

Do you have a favorite place to run in Missoula?

I always love running though and around the UM campus, and along the river although it’s been a bit busy in some sections lately.

What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

They are a generous and friendly bunch! I can’t say enough on how their smiling faces lift me up when I see them on the trails and roads. I love the races, and the beautifully maintained trails we get to enjoy. More than anything they feed me challenges I can take on so I am not focused on things I can’t change. 

We enjoyed getting to hear from Ian and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.

This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!
Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, students, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months. Please enjoy! 

For the fifth installment of the series we catch up with Ian Curtis. Ian is a senior at Hellgate High School, a distance runner and team captain for the cross country and track programs, a guitar player, a cyclist, a skier and much more. Read on to learn more about how Ian is maintaining a positive outlook, and staying connected to his team, amidst the uncertainty of his last season as a high school athlete.


Ian competing in the 2019 Bozeman XC Invitational



Thanks for joining the quarantine Q&A! First off, how old are you and how long have you lived in Missoula?

I am 18 years old and I was born and raised in Missoula. 

As a high school track athlete, what event (meet) were you most looking forward to this season? Has the season been canceled officially?

I was really looking forward both to the Arcadia Invitational in California, and the Montana state track meet. Arcadia was cancelled due to covid 19, but we have not heard officially about the state meet. There is still a small chance that we can have a short track season if school resumes.

What goals have you set for this track season, individually, and as a team?

My personal goal was to win the state championship in the 1600 meters or the 3200 meters. The Hellgate distance team was hoping to have as many all-state finishers as possible.

Are you staying motivated to train amidst this uncertainty? If so, how?

My motivation to do intervals on the track has been slightly lessened without definitive plans for a season. That said, I remain very motivated to train for the Double Dip, and for next fall’s collegiate cross country season.   

Are you doing workouts at home? If so, how are you getting creative?

As far as workouts at home, Courtney Babcock has been continuing to lead the team in strength training twice a week via Instagram live. Our coach, Anders Brooker provides us with a weekly training plan. I have been doing workouts on the river bowl track and the Kim Williams, and running some trails that are not accessible from Hellgate.    

What’s been the biggest challenge to keeping up with your running during this time?

Running has been something that I really look forward to during this time, but doing workouts alone is definitely a challenge. I miss running with my teammates and being able to go to practice every day. 

What are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your life in recent weeks?  For school, are you taking online classes?

Yes, I have been continuing my classes at Hellgate online. I would say the biggest change is that there is no school, and subsequently no running practice. I have also started to rethink my college plans because of the uncertainty created by the covid pandemic. If schools are unable to reopen in the fall, I might opt to take a gap year. 

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced due to the COVID crises you would like to share?

In the absence of school, I have been able to do quite a bit of skiing and mountain biking in addition to running that I otherwise could not have done. I have also been getting more sleep. The extra time spent outside and adequate rest have greatly improved my outlook and mental wellbeing. 

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

I am very inspired by seeing my friends and teammates continue to train and remain positive through this period of isolation. Also, the Pengelly Double Dip has been moved to August instead of being canceled. That is extremely exciting and inspires me to train.

How are you connecting with others during quarantine and social distancing? Are you staying in touch with your team?

We have a team meeting on zoom every week. I keep in touch with the team as best I can, but it can be difficult.

What does the Missoula running community (or specifically, your team) mean to you during this time?

I am very grateful for the Hellgate distance program, and the incredible support provided by my coaches and teammates. Even though social running events have been suspended during the pandemic, it is comforting to know that the running community will return stronger than ever. I feel very fortunate to be a part of such a thriving community surrounding running and the outdoors. Thank you to the Runner’s Edge for organizing this, and so many other great events during this time!

We enjoyed getting to hear from Ian and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.

This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!

Early morning hours during the 2018 Hootenanny. Photo by Votography Images.

Sometimes it’s hard to get up early and go for a run or walk.  Nowadays it can be even harder, where for the first time in history it’s completely okay to live in our comfy pajamas all day.

This week, Runner’s Edge and Run Wild Missoula are challenging you to get out of your comfort zone and catch the sunrise on your run or walk!

Not only will you be off to a wonderful start to your day, but you’ll also help disperse use on Missoula’s trails and paths by heading outside during an off-peak time. Now is the time to show off your favorite sunrise spot!


Rules:

  1. Get up nice and early and exercise your way out the door to your favorite sunrise location. Sunrise this week is around 6:30.
    1. Be sure to wear appropriate attire for running in the dark – bright, reflective, and lights!
  2. Snap either a selfie or a landscape sunrise photo (or both!) showing yourself beating the sun out the door.
  3. Share this photo on Instagram or Facebook.
  4. Be sure to tag @runnersedgemt and @runwildmissoula and use the hashtags #MoreThanRun and #LaceEmUp to be featured!

*If you would like for us to repost your photo onto our Instagram Feed, you must make your account public.


Categories & Awards:

  • Best landscape photo – who’s the best running/walking photographer in Missoula?
  • Best sunrise selfie – “best” could mean funniest, most creative, or something we haven’t thought of yet. Surprise us! 🙂
  • Prizes will feature gift cards to some of Missoula’s favorite breakfast spots!

All participants in this challenge must practice proper social distancing. This includes running or walking alone (unless with those from your home), keeping a 6’ distance from ALL people you encounter along the way, and letting people know you are coming up behind them to give them time to step to the side of the path. Also, please avoid busier times of day by running or walking earlier or later in the day. If somewhere looks too crowded – please go somewhere else!


Questions? Email adam@runnersedgemt.com

Each week we interview members of our community to learn how the Corona virus pandemic has impacted their lives, and how they are adapting in these challenging times. Our quarantine interviewees are healthcare workers, small business owners, parents, service industry employees, and, of course, runners. We hope that by sharing the stories of our neighbors we can find inspiration, solidarity, and connection as a community in the coming weeks and months.

For the fourth installment of the series we catch up with Kelsey and Travis Walnum. Kelsey and Travis are active members of the Missoula running and cycling community, and most notably the co-owners of Wally and Buck Burger Co. Read on to learn more about how they have adapted their business, lifestyles, and goals during this time. Spoiler alert, they are still open for takeout!

Kelsey and Travis in front of Wally & Buck Burger Co



Thanks for joining the quarantine Q&A! First off, how long have you lived in Missoula?

Kelsey- Born and raised!

Travis- 15 years, since 2005.

Are you training for an upcoming race? If so, which one? Has it been canceled or postponed?

Kelsey- Double Dip! Although, not a lot of training has not been happening due to making burgers for hungry Missoulians! I’m guessing it could get postponed.

Travis- I always look forward to local MTB XC series as well as some gravel events, and of course the Butte 50, Big Sky Biggie, and talk about the Spearfish 50 in SD.

Amidst these uncertain times, what challenges are you facing and how are you maintaining motivation?

Kelsey- Travis has a tendency to be a bit more motivated than I am. Work wise, we are taking business day by day and really only planning for the week. I’m hoping as the weather get’s nicer I can get outside more and establish more personal and fitness goals.

Travis- Taking things day by day. Despite the fact that we cannot participate in group activities, I typically find it challenging to establish a solid routine during the seasonal changes that occur at this time of year. Moving forward, it’ll be hard to stay focused since we may not have any events to look forward to. However, I always have personal fitness goals to work on as the seasons progress. 

In what ways are you staying active? 

Kelsey- Trying to run, hiking our two golden retrievers and hoping to get on my bike more as it gets nicer out.

Travis- Luckily for those who are active in individual sports, spending time outside or on the trail is still available. I’ve been riding a little more conservatively to reduce the risk of injury and being sure not to compromise my immune system.   

Are you doing workouts at home? If so, how are you getting creative?

Kelsey- We are lucky enough to have trail access right out our door in Missoula. I head outside!!!!

Travis- I try to set 30-45 minutes aside every morning for some basic mobility and core workouts.

How are you investing in your mental health these days?

Kelsey- It’s been tough but staying active, even if its a short dog walk or a run. Keeping in touch with family and friends. AND, enjoying guilty pleasures like chocolate ice cream and local beers!

Travis- Since the outbreak, things have only gotten busier for us. We’ve been stretched very thin between work, trying to get outside and projects at home.

As small business owners, what are some of the largest ways that the COVID crisis has changed your work life in recent weeks? 

Kelsey and Travis- Our initial instincts were directed at ways to save the business and allocate resources to give us the best opportunity of being able to open the doors again. We essentially had to restructure our operations plan, minimize costs and unfortunately layoff some of our staff. With that, we’ve been working more hours than normal.

Are there any silver linings or positive moments you have experienced due to the COVID crises you would like to share?

Kelsey & Travis- The support of our amazing community has been humbling. We would not be staying alive if it wasn’t for this amazing place we live in. Our friends and family are also coming out to help in amazing ways. The first week after we changed to our model to take out only, we had friends and family helping us out. Luckily we have been able to bring a few employees back.

Where are you finding inspiration right now? (books, music, podcasts, people, etc.)

Kelsey & Travis- Other local business owners!!! It is inspiring how everyone has become so creative and has adapted to keep their businesses going. Brainstorming constantly!!! Travis and I are constantly bouncing ideas off each other to see how we can improve or adapt.

What does the Missoula running community mean to you in a time like this?

Kelsey- Running is one of my favorite activities. I really miss running with friends and visiting with folks on the trails. I love heading out and seeing our community being so active right now.

Anything Else?

Thank you Missoula for your continued support! We love you!

 


We enjoyed getting to hear from Kelsey and Travis and hope you did too! If you think this interview would add value to someone in your life, please consider forwarding this email to them.

Also, if you are enjoying the Quarantine Q&A series, or have a question you would like us to ask our interviewees, let us know! Email Mike@runnersedgemt.com.


This edition of the Quarantine Q&A is brought to you by Sapphire Physical Therapy. Thank you Sapphire for supporting and celebrating these community stories!