Proceeds Benefit Local Women’s Services
Since 1994 the Montana Women’s Run has donated over $1,150,000 to the Billings community, including $93,000 for 2017. Recipients of donations from the Montana Women’s Run include:
- Billings YWCA
- Children’s Services
- Domestic Violence Program
- Employment & Training Center
- Sexual Assault Services
- Billings Clinic Women’s Wellness Fund
- Billings Clinic Mammography Fund
- MSU-B Women’s Cross Country Scholarship
- Rocky Mountain College Women’s Scholarship
- Billings Family YMCA
- Montana Amateur Sports Foundation
A Short History
The “First Annual” Montana Women’s Run was held in 1982 at Pioneer Park in Billings. The men of the Yellowstone Rim Runners running club wanted to put on a race for the women in their lives who had been managing the club races over the years. Many of these women had spent hours working on the races but seldom competed; during that time period, many women were intimidated by running with men. To help with the run, the Yellowstone Rim Runner men enlisted the help of the Junior League of Billings. The Junior League jumped at the chance to help other women, finding sponsors, advertising the event and helping the Rim Runners in the planning stages. That first year, about 200 women competed in the run.
The male Rim Runners continued to put on the race, but in 1985, when there were only about 65 participants, the women Rim Runners took over the planning of the run, in hopes of making it a community wide event. The next year, about 500 women participated. The run has been growing in popularity ever since, with over 8,900 women registering in 2015, making the Montana Women’s Run the largest race in the state, and one of the largest women’s events in the region.
The main focus of the Montana Women’s Run is to promote health and fitness among women, especially women who would not otherwise exercise. The Run purposely reaches out to women of all ages and abilities, with awards for females from age 8 & Under to 90 & Over. In 1994, participation reached a level that enabled the Run to give funds back to the community to further the goal of promoting health and fitness. This began the Run’s history of giving. As of 2019, the Race has donated over $1,360,600 to benefit local women’s services including $101,000 for 2019. The major recipients are the Billings YWCA, the Billings Clinic Women’s Wellness Fund, MSU-B Women’s Cross Country Scholarship, Rocky Mountain College Women’s Cross Country Scholarship, the Billings Family YMCA, and the Montana Amateur Sports Foundation.
The Montana Women’s Run also includes 8 Getting Started Clinics to get women ready for the Race, a Kids’ Run for kids 10 and under, a Pint Night with an inspirational speaker, and a Volunteer Party to thank the 400 volunteers that rally to make the event possible.