BIGFORK - Athletes from around the world will be in Flathead County this weekend competing in the high-intensity Montana Spartan Trifecta Race.
The Spartan Race is held annually in more than 40 countries across the world and gives participants a chance to conquer military-style obstacles while running anywhere from 5 to 50 kilometers.
“What this event does for us is that it provides a destination event," said Spartan Race Vice President of Business Development Cherie Bortnick.
Bortnick says more than 12,000 athletes will be in Flathead County Participating in the 10th annual Montana Spartan Race this weekend.
“I think last year we had 49 states represented, we do have a lot of folks come from Canada, and some will come from our other global locations.”
Bortnick said the obstacle course offers a rush like no other.
“Climbing over walls, climbing under barbed wire, we have rolling mud, we have a dunk wall and then a lot of truss obstacles, so you’ve got rings, you’ve got monkey bars, so a lot of jumping, climbing, swinging and then running in-between,” added Bortnick.
The race is always held on the first weekend of May on 2,000 acres of private property just south of Bigfork.
“Attracting a big event that people will travel for during a historically slower time of the year,” said Discover Kalispell Executive Director Diane Medler.
The Spartan Race partners with Discover Kalispell, a division of the Kalispell chamber to host the event.
Medler said Spartan is the unofficial kickoff to summer tourism.
“So they’re coming here, they’re staying a couple nights, they’re eating in our restaurants, they’re enjoying the event, and then they travel back home.”
Medler said a survey in partnership with the University of Montana highlights the financial benefit the event provides annually for the local economy.
“They provide a survey instrument, and we survey the participants and attendees at the event, and we get data on their spending, so it has been clear over the years that the economic impact of the event is well over $1 million,” said Medler.
The impact is felt strongly at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott in Kalispell, where all 101 rooms are booked up this weekend.
“When there are these big special events, that’s when we see our boost in occupancy," said Spring Hill Suites by Marriott Assistant General Manager Britta Joy.
Joy said some customers stay beyond just the weekend, enjoying the beauty the Flathead has to offer.
“So, these are travelers from all over the country, all over the state, so it does bring a lot of people to our area, and they get to see the beautiful scenery that we get to see every day and it’s really exciting to be able to share our little piece of Montana with them.”
Bortnick said the community atmosphere Spartan provides keeps athletes coming back to Montana year after year.
“Whether it’s they overcame something, or they’re looking to overcome something, they’re running for a charity, they’re running for themselves, they’re running to have fun, so it’s really just a really great environment to be in honestly.”
More Information on the Montana Spartan Trifecta can be found here.