Runners started early Sunday morning for the Montana Marathon, 26.2 miles from the Molt Community Center to Pioneer Park.
Patrick Geary from Sheridan won the marathon in a time of 2:52:01.
"Six or seven years ago, my goal has been to win a marathon some day and it feels great," Geary said. "Cross it off my bucket list."
Geary ran a personal record 2:44.27 last year, but came in second to Andrew Drobeck of Missoula.
"The last two times I’ve run the marathon here in Billings, I’ve gotten second place," Geary said. "Last year by 30 seconds. He passed me with about two miles left."
Geary persevered and kept working toward his goal
"Persistence," he said. "Keep beating your head against the brick wall. Don’t get discouraged. The fifth time that you get second just means that you’ve got to get back after it. And spend another year training and getting in shape."
And all that training can help with more than running.
"I’d be the last one to try to pass life lessons onto anybody," Geary said. "But I’ve never been much of a quitter so I’ve stuck it out. Just looked at it as a good time to be alone with my thoughts. If there's anything that I take away into the rest of my life from all the running I do, it's the chance to get my head straight right away in the morning. It's something I don’t think most people really get enough of, especially these days and I think it’s incredibly valuable for mental health. I know it is for me."
"Running is good for me and I love doing it. "
Geary has run in 20 marathons and will run more. He has another endurance test planned for late this fall.
In November, he wants to start a 2,500 mile backpack trip across Europe.
Stephanie Lynch won the the women's marathon in 3:14:35.