Q&A With Whitefish Trail Legacy Run Race Director Margosia Jadkowski

The Whitefish Trail Legacy Run 1/2 Marathon is the 10th race in the 2017 Treasure State Trail Series. It is run on the beautiful single track of the Whitefish Trail on October 1st. You can find more information and register here. We caught up with race director Margosia Jadkowski for a quick interview before the race.

How did you become involved in the Whitefish Trail Legacy Run? 

I’m the Program Director for Whitefish Legacy Partners, so the run falls under my job duties.  Though I have to say it’s one of my favorite events that we put on—it’s a great time and is amazing to see so many people come explore the Whitefish Trail through a race environment.

The Whitefish Legacy Partners looks like a great organization. Can you tell us more about the organization? What projects do the Partners have on tap?

Whitefish Legacy Partners is a nonprofit dedicated to promoting conservation, recreation, and education on the lands surround Whitefish.  The Whitefish Trail is probably our best known project—with 42 miles of natural surface trail and 12 trailheads, the trail provides world class recreation just out our back doors.  Through this and other projects we’ve permanatly protected lands for conservation and secured the public’s right to recreate on them forever.  This fall we’re completing 6 new miles of trail and two new trailheads in Haskill Basin, including groomed Nordic trails.  Our goal is to close the loop around Whitefish Lake, with a 55+ mile loop trail and conserved lands—we’re about 2/3 of the way there!

Aside from putting on this trail race, how is Whitefish Legacy Partners involved in the community? 

A big part of our work is helping to connect the community the landscape around them, and last year alone kids spent over 2,800 hours unplugged on the trail, engaged in our education programs. We bring every 3rd, 6th, and 9th grader out to the Whitefish Trail to learn about everything from watershed protection to avalanche safety to healthy forest management, and also provide education programs for adults.  We believe that the best way to create advocates for the natural landscapes around is to connect the community to them, whether it’s through education or just exploring on the trail.  We had over 75,000 visits to the trail last year, which is a lot of people getting out, recreating on their public lands, and feeling connected to them.

How does a race like the Legacy Run benefit the Whitefish Legacy Partners? 

The race is a fundraiser for us, but maybe more importantly it’s an opportunity to introduce new people to the trail.  As the trail’s grown, we’ve been able to grow the race too.  It’s exciting to think about the possibility of putting on an ultramarathon once the trail is complete around the lake!

Aside from running the race, how can individuals help with Whitefish Legacy Partners' projects?

There’s lots of opportunities to get involved: the trail is maintained 100% by volunteers and funded 100% by grants and community support.  Folks can find out more about our programs, how to volunteer, or how to donate at www.whitefishlegacy.org

The Whitefish Legacy Trail is an incredible resource for the Whitefish area. What can runners expect to see out there on course? 

The course for the half marathon is super fun and pretty challenging—the single track trail is winding and includes a lot of rolling hills, and bike features like berm turns that are also awesome to run.  Along the course runners will pass three pristine undeveloped lakes, have the opportunity to see wildlife like nesting loons, and explore the 1,500 acres of permanently conserved lands in the Beaver Lake area.

There have been some great runners to participate in the Legacy run in the past. Can we expect another competitive field?

One of the cool things about living in a mountain town is how many incredible athletes there are.  You go to buy a tube for your bike or something and they guy’s off running Mont Blanc. Or you find out your mail man is also a pro skier.  We’ve got some great runners in Whitefish, and lots come from all over like Missoula, Helena, and Spokane for the race too, which can lead to a pretty competitive field.  At the same time though there’s folks out walking the 5k or Family Fun Run, having a great time too.

What is the post-race atmosphere like? 

The race starts and ends at the Whitefish Bike Retreat, which is an amazing trailside lodge, and provides a really unique post-race atmosphere.  We’ll have craft beer from Bonsai Brewing, a burrito bar, and lots of fun for racers, family, and friends.

Anything else you would like to add?

We’re so excited to be featured in the Treasure State Trail Series this year! We love the idea of being connected to all these other amazing trail networks throughout the state by the race series and hope participants get to come enjoy the Whitefish Trail as part of it.


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