Glacier Half Marathon Details

Easter Glacier Village, Montana |June 26, 2021 

Course Details

The Glacier Half Marathon takes place just east of Glacier National Park. This is a challenging, but highly rewarding half race with some seriously stunning views! 

The race starts at 5:45 AM sharp. We will have a rolling, staggered start for runners according to your bib wave color. All runners will have 4 hours to finish the entire race from the time they start their run. This is an 18.5 min mile - plenty of time for walkers! 

To be clear, this race doesn't take place inside the National Park. (It's difficult to get permission to conduct private business activities on national land, and rightly so.) Having said that, this is about as close to the park as it gets.

The race will start about 1.3 miles
east of Kiowa, MT on highway 89.
The entire race will be on pavement except for a couple short sections that run on grass. At Kiowa, the road climbs almost 900 ft. It’s a big climb, but
runners will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Glacier National Park, and the prairies at its base as you climb Looking Glass Hill. From mile 5 to mile 10, the course runs downhill while enjoying
stunning views of Lower Two Medicine Lake. The last portion has a series of hill-climbs and drops where runners will finish on the front lawn of the Glacier Park Lodge.

The course will be well-marked, but it is your responsibility to stay to the left when running with traffic and be courteous and mindful of cars and other runners. DO NOT step off the course
into traffic; you will be disqualified. We want you to stay safe.

The elevation change on this course is definitely something to take note of. The first half of the race starts at about 5000 ft and goes from a gradual climb to a steeper elevation gain topping out at 5980 ft. The total race gain is 1230 ft. This is a challenging, but overwhelmingly beautiful course!

Time limit
All runners will have 4 hours to finish the race. That is an 18.5 minute mile - plenty of time for walkers! If at anytime we deem it unsafe and need to pull a runner off the course we would hope for understanding and immediate cooperation. Failure to comply will result in being banned from future events.

Course Records
Our course record holders receive a FREE RACE ENTRY every year that their time remains the course record! The current course record holders are:
Male Overall: Glen Burkhardt  1:12:34 (2019)
Female Overall: Samantha Witt  1:30:56 (2018)
Male Masters: 
Brian Suttle  1:24:06 (2019)
Female Masters: 
Kris Rostas  1:40:23 (2018)

Aid Stations

Expect about 6 aid stations on the course at around mile 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 12. A medic will be stationed typically at the aid station at or near mile 7. Keep in mind, the exact location of each aid station may vary from race to race. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more. 

All stations are cup-free so plan to bring your own hydration solution or request a free HydraPouch when you register. 

Additional Details

Race Expo & Bib Pickup

You have a couple of options for picking up your bib and race packet including at the race expo or or we can mail it to you. When you register, we ask you to indicate when you plan to pick up your bib. If you plans change, don’t worry about it. We only ask to help us plan in terms of numbers.

Option #1: Race Expo
We’ll have our race expo the Friday before the race from 9am–7pm at the Indian Days Campground (Browning, MT). We’ll have our merchandise table set up, so be sure to stop by and say hi!

Option #2: Race Morning (not recommended)
We will have limited race morning packet pickup. We do not recommend waiting until the morning, but if it cannot be avoided - we understand.

Race morning bib pickup will start at 4:30 and is located at the shuttle loading site. 

Option #3: Shipped Before the Race
There is a cost of $20 if you want to have your bib and shirt mailed to you. We do this as a convenience for runners not wanting to drive to the area early. You can add a shipped bib to your registration until one month before the race by logging into RunSignup, clicking Manage Registration, and Add Ons.

Refunds: Once your package is shipped, you are officially checked in to the race and no longer qualify for our refund, deferment, or transfer options.

Bib Pickup/Race Expo

Location: Indian Days Campground (Browning, MT)

Hours: 9:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Drive thru Bib Pickup

This is our way of keeping everyone safe and following local covid guidelines - you'll be able to get your bib, hydrapouch, race shirt, etc...all from the comfort of your car! You can then park and shop at the merch tent, if desired.

Bring Your Own Bag
In our ongoing effort to eliminate waste during our races, our expos are bagless events. We encourage you to BYOB (bring your own bag) to hold your bib, race shirt, and any goodies you pick up from the race expo!

Race Shirts
If you are unhappy with the fit of your race shirt, or were unable to order the size you wanted, we will have a shirt exchange available at the finish line on race day. Please note that sizes and quantity will be limited.

Race Day Schedule - Staggered Start!

Staggered Start - Color waves!

In order to keep everyone spread out at the start line, we are using a staggered wave system. Runners will start according to the wave indicated on their bib (you can check this on your bib or by logging into RunSignup and checking your registration).

Please arrive according to your wave (shown in the table). Once on-site, you can stay warm in your car until your line-up time. The Dark Green/Walker group will start their race at 5:45 am. The Blue wave and overall competitors start at 6:00 am, kicking of a rolling start for the remaining waves. All runners must start their race no later than 8:00 am.

Tune in to FM 95.1 to hear morning announcements from our crew! They'll let you know when it's time to head to the start line, as our  start schedule may shift!

Race Day Schedule

Schedule Breakdown
4:30 am – Parking lot opens/shuttles to start line begin
4:30 am – Race day bib pickup at shuttle loading site

4:50 am - Shuttles begin loading 

5:30 am - First waves line up & last call for gear check
5:40 am – National Anthem & Blackfeet Honor Song and Victory Song
5:45 am – ⭐️ Race Starts! Rolling starts

5:45 am - Dark Green wave starts

6:00 am - Blue wave and overall competitors start

*Runners will start on a rolling basis according to their wave color until 8 am. Please check your bib or registration info for your wave color.


Race finish cutoff will be 4 hours after the last runners start, approximately 12:00pm

Parking & Shuttles

Parking, Shuttles, & Runner Drop-off

We will have all event parking, drop-off, and shuttles at the fields outside. Shuttles will take runners from Browning to the start line before the race. starting at 4:30am. The last shuttle will leave for the start line at 7:20am. Parking and shuttle times are based on your wave color - Do not be late!

Shuttles will return runners to the Indian Days Campground after the race. There is absolutely no parking or drop off at the start line or finish line.

*Note: There is no shuttle services from Glacier Park Lodge or the Vacation Races Campground. Runners will need to drive/carpool to the parking lot in Browning in order to catch the shuttle to the start line.

Parking, Drop-off, and Shuttles

Finish Line Staging

Finish Line

Shuttles will depart from the finish line in East Glacer Village back to the parking lot at the Indian Days Campground as runners finish the race.

At the finish line we will have a food box (full of recovery snacks),
bananas, and chocolate milk. Please help yourself to one food box,
chocolate milk, and banana per runner. There will be water at the finish line, but no cups. Please use your Hydrapouch or water bottle to fill up at the finish line.

In addition to the expo, the merchandise tent will be set up after the
race near the finish line!

Spectator Parking & Finish Line Staging

Spectators

Spectators at Glacier 2021

Spectators will not be allowed at the start or finish line this year. We must adhere to crowd
restrictions put in place by the Blackfeet. The future of our event depends on your cooperation,
so please pass this on to your friends and family that may be traveling with you.  

We recommend downloading the RaceJoy app to track your runner's progress and send them cheers along the way!

Training

We are pleased to share a FREE half marathon training program customized for this course to help you prepare. We've teamed up with Active at Altitude as the Official Training Partner to offer 2 levels of training: 

  • Beginner program (16 weeks)
  • Intermediate program (12 weeks)

These programs are free and are sent via e-newsletter every 4 weeks. 

Travel Tips

We want to help you make the most out of your vacation. Here are some helpful links to some of our sponsors as well as general information. We’ll be updating the links below as we get closer to race day.

NPS Road Restrictions

The National Park Service has launched a ticketing system for access to Going-To-The-Sun Road from 6am - 5pm. Visitors who want use this road or the activities on it will need to purchase a ticket or plan to visit after hours (5pm - park close). Entry tickets are sold out, but a new wave of tickets will be available late-May!

There are many hikes and activities off the road even close to the entrance on both sides. These are not accessible during ticketed hours either. However, we can recommend two non-restricted activities: Lower Two Medicine Lake and Many Glacier (on the east side).

Getting Here

The expo and race take place in East Glacier Montana with the start of the race closer to Browning, MT. Kalispell is a major hub for Glacier National Park. Most runners will likely fly or drive through Kalispell, Montana on their way to the race. That being said, it’s about an hour and a half away from where the race will take place. If lodging is completely full east of the park, Kalispell has options of places to stay. Find options on the Discover Kalispell website.

Where to Stay

HEADS UP!

The areas surrounding Glacier National Park are remote and things book quickly even on a normal year. Covid has made it even more challenging. We recommend booking all travel accommodations early - even before you register for the race!

Below are a few more options as the typical lodging options are sold out:

1) Look for Airbnb or Vrbo rentals in - East Village, Kalispell, or other smaller towns. These may be further away from the race.

2) Checkout campsite on the dyrt or Hip Camp

EAST GLACIER VILLAGE - East Glacier Village has the most lodging options in the area. It will be the easiest to place to find lodging for race weekend, but will also likely be the first place to fill up. This will be the best place to stay if you’re hoping to stay near the finish line.

BROWNING - If you can’t find lodging in East Glacier Village, Browning will be the next town to look in. It’s about 15 minutes away from the start and finish lines and has several lodging options.

ST. MARY - This is small town north of the race, but it has some good lodging options. You should plan on about a 45 minute drive to and from the race if you stay here.

*In addition to your search online, there a few lodging options in East Glacier that you may call for a reservation as they are not listed on the web: Sears Motel & Cabins, and East Glacier Motel & Cabins. Call 406-450-1141 or 406-338-7572 to book directly.

ADDITIONAL HOTEL OPTIONS

We've partnered with booking.com to search for the best hotel options in the area:

Booking.com Logo

VR Campground

VACATION RACES CAMPGROUND

The campground is sold out! Thank you to everyone who chose to stay with us. 

The most convenient (and most fun) place to stay during race weekend is our Vacation Races Campground! The Vacation Races campground will be located at Red Eagle Campground on the Blackfeet reservation at the south end of Lower Two Medicine Lake (off of Highway 49). 

There is plenty of space for campers! Keep in mind that this is primitive camping.

We will provide toilets, water, and campfires. You can sleep in your car, tent, hammock, an RV (no hookups), or rent a tent from us for an additional charge. Whichever you choose, you still have to reserve a spot. Campsites do not include cots, sleeping bags, pillows, headlamps, cooking stoves and supplies, or firewood. Runners who are camping will need to drive to the parking area in Browning to catch the shuttle to the start line race morning.

Reservation Prices:

  • Campsite Reservation (bring your own tent) $75
  • Campsite Reservation with 4 person tent rental $100
  • Campsite Reservation with 6 person tent rental $130

Reservation Dates:

  • Thursday, June 24th 3:00pm – Sunday, June 27th 9:00am

    Checking in:
    Campsite check-in will be on Thursday, June 24th at 3pm. Upon arrival you will be able to pick the location you want, they are first come first serve. Price is for all days and times listed, even if you don't stay for the duration.

    Check out:
    Campsite checkout will be by Sunday, June 27th, by 9:00am. If you reserved a tent you will need to turn it into the camp hosts before you leave.

You can make a reservation as part of your race registration or by modifying your registration in RunSignup.

Explorer Club

Glacier Explorer Club

If you've run any of our National Park half marathons before, you may be familiar with our "club hikes" and "trifecta" programs. The "Explorer Club" series is our new iteration of this idea! We want you to have as broad or as deep of an experience of our National Parks and their surrounding areas as oissible. We have created a scavenger hunt made up of all kinds of adventures and experiences you can have around each National Park. 

The challenge consists of activities that fit into 6 categories: History, Hiking, Explore, Food/Dining, Education, and Stewardship. 

Each activity is worth points towards your Explorer badge! They are worth a different number of points based on difficulty and you can choose which to tackle based on your interests. Whether you have an afternoon or a week, you should be able to plan an amazing itinerary with these suggestions!

Here's how to become a Glacier Explorer:

  • Install the free Spark Challenges app
  • Sign-up using the same email address you used to register for the race
  • Join the Glacier Explorer Club challenge and start completing activities
  • Earn at least 1,500 points within 7-days of the race and you’ll earn a special in-app achievement with a coupon code to claim your free Glacier Explorer badge

Things to See & Do

To help you make the most out of your visit to Glacier National Park, we've put together some recommended "Club Hikes". These can be found as part of the Explorer Club activities explained above. For this year only, anyone who completes Club or Trifecta hikes and logs them in the Spark Challenges app as part of the Explorer Club will still receive our classic medallions and pins!

NPS Road Restrictions

The National Park Service has launched a ticketing system for access to Going-To-The-Sun Road from 6am - 5pm. Visitors who want use this road or the activities on it will need to purchase a ticket or plan to visit after hours (5pm - park close). Entry tickets are sold out, but a new wave of tickets will be available late-May!

There are many hikes and activities off the road even close to the entrance on both sides. These are not accessible during ticketed hours either. However, we can recommend two non-restricted activities: Lower Two Medicine Lake and Many Glacier (on the east side).

Club Hikes

These club hikes are a salute to the hardcore among us. We have four club hike options for the Glacier Half Marathon: They are Grinnell Glacier, Scenic Point, Hidden Lake and Iceberg Lake.

GRINNELL CLUB

The Grinnell Glacier hike is a strenuous, but very rewarding hike to Grinnell Glacier Overlook. It’s 7.6 miles roundtrip and scenic the whole way! We recommend taking the shuttle boats across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine (which do have fees), otherwise you’ll need to hike an extra 3.4 miles. We also recommend starting early and bringing bear spray and lots of water!

SCENIC CLUB

Scenic Point is a strenuous, 8 mile hike (roundtrip) which partially follows the Continental Divide Trail. As you hike you’ll get amazing views of Lower and Upper Two Medicine Lake, which will only become more dramatic as you climb. At the top, you’ll have stunning views of both lakes and almost the entire valley. You’ll even be able to see all the way to our host town, East Glacier Park!

HIDDEN LAKE CLUB

The hike to Hidden Lake is a moderate, 5.4 mile hike (roundtrip). You’ll get gorgeous views of the lake, plus alpine meadows on the way! This is different than the Hidden Lake Overlook, which is part of the trifecta. To join this club you need to go all the way to the lake!

ICEBERG CLUB

The hike to Iceberg Lake is a strenuous, 10 mile hike (roundtrip). Along the way you’ll have dramatic views of the mountains, several lakes, and even a waterfall. A lot of the hike will have views of alpine meadows and wildflowers. It really is gorgeous the whole way. Please make sure to make lots of noise and bring bear spray if you choose to do this hike! Although the hike is tough, it is very rewarding.

Trifecta

Glacier Trifecta Pin

For those looking for something less strenuous, we have the Glacier Trifecta! The Trifecta is comprised of 3 different activities. You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta. The Trifecta is meant to be challenging, but less strenuous. These are iconic activities inside the park that should be experienced, but are doable with children. The 3 activities that makeup the Trifecta are:

SAINT MARY LAKE

This iconic view of the mountains surrounding Saint Mary Lake is a must see while you’re visiting Glacier National Park. You’ll find the view point at a pullout about 6.5 miles past the Saint Mary Visitor Center.

TRAIL OF THE CEDARDS

The Trail of the Cedars is a short, 1 mile loop through the forest in Glacier National Park. Located 5.5 miles east of the Lake McDonald Lodge. This is an extremely popular trailhead, so parking can become sparse at times. The humidity in the area allows for tall cedars and even some ferns, which you’d normally only see on the Pacific Coast. You’ll get some really pretty views of the forest and the Lower Avalanche Gorge.

RUNNING EAGLE FALLS

The trailhead for Running Eagle Falls is located 1.1 miles west of the Two Medicine entrance station. Running Eagle Falls, also known as “Trick Falls”, flows off the outlet stream between Two Medicine Lake and Lower Two Medicine Lake.

PRIZE & REQUIREMENTS » You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta. In the past, we asked explorers to submit photos online. However, we are phasing out this program in 2021. For the remainder of the year, you can find the Trifecta races in the Sparks Challenges app. Submit these hikes as part of the Glacier Explorer Club to receive your pin!

Race Results and Photos

If you see that you placed, but didn't stick around for the awards ceremony, no worries! You can request to have your place medal shipped to you!

If you have questions about your placement or results, please email timing@vacationraces.com.

Photos

Race Photos
Race photos are available the Friday following the week of the race. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album as well as place the link below. This year we are offering race photos FREE to all our runners!

Award Ceremony Photos (No awards ceremony 2021)
Award ceremony photos are posted within a week of the race. You can find a link to the award ceremony photos below:

Share your experiences with us! 
Be sure to use #GlacierHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!

Race Merchandise

Race Merchandise

Exclusive Glacier Half Marathon merchandise is available in our online store.

Image of a Glacier Half Marathon runner with her medal

"Glacier had been high up on both our priority lists. [...] Right before the race began, the Blackfeet sang us an encouraging song and said a prayer. It was such a beautiful way to start a race and what would be an amazing adventure!

It was surreal to watch the sun rise and unveil the area surrounding GNP. The route was snaked with gorgeous views. It rained on us almost the entire time, which was like a cleansing of spirit. 

Work and life can get so busy. When I run, my mind is quiet and my runners high just takes me on and on. I run for that reason. This was a truly great experience. [...] Great way to combine the things you love most into one trip."

Read the full, unabbreviated post on Instagram

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