Later this month, residents from across the Gallatin Valley will be heading to Three Forks for the annual Headwaters Bank Run.
The event which is a fundraiser for the Headwaters Trail System is scheduled for Saturday, July 22 will feature a 5 and 10K Walk/Run and Half Marathon.
For Gene Townsend, the event not only serves as a way to raise money, but for awareness of the trail system.
"It helps get the word out. We get a lot of people that don't live in Three Forks and are from the surrounding communities every year. Every year we get some donations from runners that don't live here or people who will round up their entry fee to a higher amount. We get to tell our story about trying to build this trail across the Gallatin Valley and connect to Manhattan and Bozeman. It's a good way to get the word out to people," said Townsend, who serves as the Director of the Trail System. "Even if they don't participate in the run, they are aware of the trail system out here and what we are doing. That's a big thing."
After not having the event in 2020 and 2021, Townsend said it was a really good feeling when it returned in 2022.
"It was nice to see a lot of the runners that we had in past years come and support us. It was just a good feeling knowing the pandemic was over enough that people could get together and visit," he said.
Townsend feels it is important for organizers to have the three events and said many people will choose to walk the 5K.
"Those people that are walking the 5K, they visit and talk about the trail. When you are walking, you notice a lot more than when you are running," he said.
Along with future expansion, Townsend stressed the event's importance for the trails' maintenance.
"Maintenance has been a big issue for us the past few years. The trail system is getting older. We are close to some parts of the trail being 25 years. People realizing it needs maintenance is a big factor on this run," he said.
The 5K and 10K Walk/Run are scheduled to start on July 22 at 8 a.m. The Half Marathon will begin at 7:30 a.m.
"I'd like to see a good turnout, and we usually have one. Everyone should come out and enjoy the run and the trail. It's pretty out there this year, thanks to all the good rain we've had. The trail is really nice and green this year. It's a pleasant walk or run for anyone, even if they're not doing the competition," he said.
This year's event costs $30, and all participants will receive a t-shirt. Snacks and beverages will be served after the race.
To sign up, please visit https://runsignup.com/Race/MT/ThreeForks/HeadwatersTrailBankRun. Participants will also be able to sign up on the day of the event.