Saturday, February 27, 2016 • Seeley Lake, MT • Course Map
The cold, blustery winter weather of February each year is never enough to deter the field of hundreds of runners at each year’s Snow Joke Half Marathon, which takes runners on a loop the run around the banks of Seeley Lake in the town of the same name in westernmost Montana, about 40 miles from Missoula.
The half-marathon takes runners on a single, cold and snow-covered lap around the lake, making it quite likely one of the country’s coldest outdoor race events of the year.
Race organizers tell participants to expect icy patches along the course’s snow-plowed road, and allow at least some time for the sun to come out — the race starts at the unusually late time of 11:00 AM. The start and finish are at Seeley Lake’s Elementary School Gym, where runners also register between 8:30 and 10:30 AM on the day of the race.
Located right in the middle of Montana’s Bob Marshall and Mission Mountain Wilderness Areas, the town of Seeley Lake is also set in what is known locally as the Seeley-Swan Valley, home to about 2,400 permanent residents and many, many more tourists and visitors year-round.
Snowmobiling and Nordic skiing are two of the area’s most popular wintertime activities, as the surrounding area boasts about 350 miles of snowmobile trails and a world-class Nordic ski trail system, which visitors can tour on one of the town’s famous sleigh rides or dogsled rides.
Note: The race’s organizer, the Cheetah Herders Athletic Club, released news in late 2013 that it had sold the Snow Joke Half Marathon to another race management company, Big Sky Orogenic Racing and Events, to allow the event to keep growing for the future. The race has grown from a small event with just over 30 runners at its inaugural running in 1980 to one that attracts upwards of 700 runners today.
Race Weather & Climate
Needless to say from the name of the event, weather conditions are normally cold with snow on the ground on the day of the race, as the area’s average February temperatures range between 14°F and 37°F.
On the day of the race (Feb. 27), the average low is 17°F and the average high is 40°F, while average precipitation during the month is less than 2 inches — and that usually means snowfall.
- 2015 Snow Joke Half Marathon Results
- 2014 Snow Joke Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Snow Joke Half Marathon Results
- 2012 Snow Joke Half Marathon Results
- $25 before December 31, 2015
- $35 between January 1 – February 27, 2016
- $45 on race day
Registration is available on the day of the race beginning at 8:30 AM at Seeley Lake’s Elementary School Gym, where the race starts. Participants may also register for the Snow Joke Half Marathon at RacesAndFaces.com here.