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Final Preparations For Missoula Marathon

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MISSOULA -

The final preparations are underway for the Missoula Marathon, as thousands of runners get ready for a race to the finish. Runners and marathon organizers are all getting ready for what they said is the biggest Missoula Marathon yet.

With one day and nine hours to go, the race is on until the Missoula Marathon begins Sunday.

"It's great, we've been sold out for several weeks so it makes planning a lot easier," said Eva Dunn-Froebig of Run Wild Missoula.

The final preparations are underway as 5,000 runners and walkers of all ages get ready to head for the finish line.

"I just really enjoy it," said Myrtle Miller, a walker in the half mile marathon. "I used to run, and don't anymore, and this is easier. Anyone can put on their shoes and walk."

80-year-old Myrtle Miller is taking her last few walks before she takes on the half marathon. Miller is among the oldest participants of the run. She's been taking a walking class for the last three months to get ready for the big day.

"We stretch, and Saturday mornings we have a half hour of classes for food and stretching," she said.

Miller ran the full marathon in her 50's, and wanted to return to her active lifestyle.

"I just really believe that your responsible for your own health and to keep healthy," Miller said.

She started hiking with friends, and eventually they decided to take the marathon walking class. She's walked the last two.

"I got 3:23 on the last two, but I'd be happy with 3:30," Miller said.

With more people than ever signed up for the race, participants like Miller can expect to see some changes this year, in light of the Boston Marathon Bombing in April.

"We will only be accepting gear bags we provide to them on Sunday, so they can't bring own back packs," said Dunn-Froebig.

More security, including law enforcement and security guards will also be at the finish line, so runners and walkers won't be able to stick around the area once the race ends.

"It's going to be pretty strict," said Dunn-Froebig.

Race organizers still invite everyone to come out and enjoy the festival at Caras Park on Sunday to support the marathon participants.

"I just really want to encourage people to stay in shape, and play by the rules," said Miller.

The Missoula Marathon starts Sunday at 6 a.m.

Marathon officials said a few volunteer positions are still open. To find out how to sign up head to Run Wild Missoula.

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