Halloween's just around the corner and Sunday in Missoula local runners embraced the fall weather and competed for a good cause at the 18th annual Pumpkin Run.
Sunday’s events kicked off at Osprey Stadium with a 400 meter kid’s dash; each little runner who crossed the finish line got a pumpkin and some candy.
After the kids had their go, the adults lined up for a 5K and some even dressed in costume.
Missoula runner Benjamin Schmidt has been organizing the fund-raiser every year for the last 18 years and he tells us it’s a great way to have some family fun, while helping those in need.
“I'd been involved in the running community for a long time and I like October because Halloween - it's a good festival with low pressure - so I figured let’s organize a race because I certainly participate in enough of them,” says Schmidt. “So that’s when it started so it's always been a fundraiser for some nonprofit group and Run Wild Missoula.”
This year, Schmidt tells NBC Montana all of the proceeds raised will go to the Missoula Food Bank.
“For the last 10 years at least the Missoula Food Bank has been getting the funds from this race,” he says. “Other people who have gotten funds that we've raised are the Poverello Center and Partnership Health Clinic.”
When we asked Schmidt what his favorite part of organizing the Pumpkin Run is, he eagerly replied “the kid’s dash!”
“You have all of these kids coming through and sometimes you have a huge herd of them and they come through in like a wave of 30 at a time,” he said smiling. “You're handing out pumpkins and fruit snacks when they come through and they're holding their little pumpkins so that is the best part of the whole event.”
Schmidt said last year the pumpkin run raised nearly $2,500 for the Missoula Food Bank and he hopes to match or beat that number this year.