Veterans Day Race set for Saturday

The 86th running of the Veterans Day Race will be held at 11:11 a.m. Saturday in Butte.

This year, the course will change after five years starting and finishing at the new American Legion Hall on the corner of Wynne and McKinley avenues. Both races will still start and finish at the Legion Hall, but the 5-mile course will change.

In an effort to address past safety concerns, the 5-mile course will include two laps around the 2 ½-mile course this year.

Montana’s oldest road race was created in 1934 by two World War I veterans, C. Owen Smithers and Charlie McAuliffe. Since then, the race has been held every Veterans Day except during the World War II years between 1942-45. The event is one of the oldest races held annually in the west.

For many years, the event was started and finished in the uptown business district.

The race was primarily between athletes from the three high schools in the area, the two Butte schools and Anaconda. The start/finish line venue was changed to Naranche Stadium in 1967. It remained at this location until 1975.

The next year, in 1976, the race was opened to all runners and moved to the Flats.

The race started at Stodden Park and ended at the American Legion Hall near the Copper King Inn from 1985 through 2017.

Nicole Murray is the six-time defending champion of the women’s 5-mile race. She has won the event 16 times overall. Michael DeForest is the defending champion on the men’s side.

Weather conditions appear to be favorable for the 86th running, but the race will be run no matter the weather.

Cost is $20 or $10 for runners 18 and younger. Race-day registration will be held from 10 to 10:45 a.m.

Awards and lunch will follow the race.