The founders of the Beaverhead Marathon Casey Parrott, Dylan Zitzer, and Cory Birkenbuel held their first event in May 2018, which featured a full and half marathon that explored the Dillon area. The marathon was established to fund a scholarship for student cross country athletes and continues to be an annual event.
Marathon founder and UMW men’s and women’s cross country coach, Dylan Zitzer, says that they wanted to create an event for the community while also supporting student-athletes. “We wanted to provide a resource for student-athletes while also creating an event that not only supports UMW but supports the community as a whole.”
Zitzer grew up in Dillon before attending Concordia University where he competed in cross country and track and field. He returned to Dillon where he became the cross country program’s first head coach. A native Montanan, Zitzer wanted this scholarship to help Montana students.
“We wanted to focus on Montana students first, and find someone that could use the scholarship to their full potential,” said Zitzer.
The Beaverhead Marathon Scholarship’s first recipient was awarded to Shelby Walls. Walls is a freshman majoring in elementary education from Belgrade, Mont. where she attended high school at Manhattan Christian. Coming from a small-town setting, Walls was naturally drawn to the University of Montana Western.
“I grew up in a small town, so the transition of coming to Montana Western fit perfectly. With the small class sizes and the Experience One block program, I knew this was a place where I could succeed,” said Walls. “I feel very grateful for this opportunity and hope to make the most of it while I’m here.”
The scholarship will award cross country student-athletes $500 each year, and Coach Zitzer hopes to add at least two more as funds are raised over the coming years. Beaverhead Marathon’s latest event will take place Oct. 19, 2019, with the second annual “Run the Boo” 10K, 5K, and 1-mile kids race.
Registration costs for “Run the Boo” are $39 for the 10K, $29 for the 5K, and free for children under the age of 10. To register, visit beaverheadmarathon.com. A free T-shirt will be provided to those who register online.
For more information, please visit the Beaverhead Marathon Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RunTheBeav/or email [email protected]. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made at www.umwfoundation.org or by calling 406-683-7305.