Buckner, Staley take Sat. races

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, May 19, 2021
The friendliness of long-distance runners

Dillon’s Daniel Triller crosses the finish line with a little help from his son at Saturday’s Beaverhead Marathon. M.P. Regan photo

The turnout and weather turned out better than ever at the annual Beaverhead Marathon on Saturday.

“We had capped it at 100 people and we got 100 people who signed up,” said Cory Birkenbuel of a half-marathon/ marathon split of about 3:1 at the third running of the event.

“We had great weather. Even the little rain in the morning helped with those dirt roads,” said Birkenbuel of some of the stretches of graded but unpaved, remote road along the course that starts by the reservoir south of Dillon and concludes downtown.

“The night before I was wishing, ‘man, I wish we had a water truck to take out there. It was like my prayers were answered,” added Birkenbuel, of an antidote for the dust that can sometimes kick up into the air along the stretches of remote dirt road on the course.

“That rain this morning got rid of my allergy problems, so I couldn’t have asked for a better day to run,” said Half-Marathon winner Michael Staley, a Dillon native who came back to run from Salt Lake City, where he now lives.

“I love Dillon and Beaverhead County, so I’ll keep coming back for this race as long as I can, before I get too old and fat to run it,” laughed Staley, who ran the half course in 1:53:23.

“They do a great job with this race, and it’s nice to get the small-town feeling after running some marathons in bigger cities,” said Mark Buckner, a high school German teacher from Billings and the first marathoner to cross the finish line in downtown Dillon on Saturday.

“I got the idea I wanted to run the Boston Marathon some day and jumped in and did terrible, and figured there was only one way to go and just kept at it,” said Buckner, now a veteran of 15 marathons.

“This race is fun and well organized,” said the son-in-law of Beaverhead County High School Cross Country Coach Betty Iverson who covered the full 26.2 mile course Saturday in 3:02:04.

“I hope it many years into the future so I can keep coming back for it.”