MISSOULA — Jason Delaney moved back to his home state of Montana less than a year ago, but the 33-year-old runner is already making headlines in his old stomping grounds.
Delaney’s 2-hour, 26-minute, 10.2-second finish in the seventh annual Missoula Marathon on Saturday was not only good enough for his second career marathon victory, he also broke Elliot Weider’s course record by nearly 15 seconds.
“It felt really great,” Delaney said. “It is the only thing we have close to a hometown marathon and one of the biggest races in Montana.”
Delaney admitted that he was gunning for a pace closer to 2 hours, 24 minutes, but the summer heat and some nagging tendinitis in his foot were a bothersome duo.
“It was really fun,” said Delaney. “I really had a blast out there. I was really hurting in the end and I was not sure I was going to hang on for that course record. It was pure luck, really.”
Delaney won the Crazy Horse Marathon in Rapid City, S.D. in 2008.
Neither performance is the highlight of his career, though, Delaney said. That memory is his visit to New York City to run in the 2008 Olympic trials. He finished 72nd in a field of more than 100 runners and failed to make the Olympic team in that race with the nation’s elite, but he still posted a better time than he did in Missoula on Saturday, 2:25:57.
“That was really, in a sense, my Olympics,” he said, “to be able to go compete against those guys in that environment.”
Delaney, a 1999 graduate of Polson High School, took his talents to the University of Wyoming on a track scholarship, though he said he came into his element well after a college career that was marred by injuries.
Living in Colorado after college, he landed a sponsorship with the Boulder Running Company and Adidas.
Delaney surrendered those sponsorships when he and his wife moved back to Polson to be closer to his parents. Wes and Twila, and get his children, who are 4 and 2 years old, settled in before they started grade school.
He works for his parents’ company, Delaney’s Landscape Center, as a project manager.
His current training regimen entails running about 70 miles per week, but he tapered to between 40 or 50 in the weeks prior to the race. He was only able to train for the event for about ten weeks due to an injury that kept him from training most of this spring.
The Missoula Marathon was a return to the 26.2-mile event for Delaney, who hadn’t raced in one since spring of 2011, though he had participated in other races.
“I definitely felt like I was brushing some rust off right there,” Delaney said.
Consider the rust gone.
Other area Missoula Marathon finishers include:
Bonnie Doerfler, Polson, 3:51:02.0
Alina Graves, Ronan, 4:26:55.0
Polly Larson, Arlee, 4:57:48.2
Nancy Johnson, Arlee, 4:59:21.2
Carla Isle, Ronan, 5:01:39.6
Deanna Weaver, Arlee, 5:54:17.7
Brande Mergenthaler, Polson, 3:20:24.4
Paul Grier, Arlee, 3:58:03.5