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There aren’t many races that encourage participants to opt for doughnuts instead of water along the trail, but that’s exactly the premise behind the Lard Butt 1K.

The Lard Butt 1K made its debut in Missoula on Saturday when hundreds of participants packed Silver Park to take part in the 0.62-mile “race.”

The event featured doughnut stands every 250 meters, or about 328 steps, along the course, in addition to beer and mimosas.

“We created Lard Butt as kind of the antidote to the ‘win at all cost mentality,’” said Mark Peterson, one of the race’s founders. “This event is completely untimed. There’s no pressure other than have some fun, get a little bit of exercise and enjoy yourself.”

About 800 people attended the race Saturday, wearing everything from hot dog suits and other food-inspired costumes to wigs and tutus.

For the most part, it just looked like another sunny Saturday in Missoula with community members mingling in a park and enjoying the weather while sipping on some local brews.

The event, which was open to all ages, offered adult participants a light Mexican lager from Highlander that race organizers called the “Lard Butt lager.”

Peterson said they were overwhelmed by the turnout and expected only around 400 to 500 people when they first targeted Missoula, after having held the race in Seattle and San Francisco.

Although the event was founded by a group of Montana natives, including Eric Hanson, 49, Dave Peppenger, 49, and Brent Baldwin, 49, who still reside in Missoula, this is the first year they’ve held the race in the Garden City.

Megan Ashton and Helia Jazayeri were among the many attendees who arrived in costume.

Wearing blue glitter eye shadow to match a turquoise wig, Ashton sipped the remainder of her mimosa before partaking in the first of three races.

The first wave, dubbed the “showoff wave” for those “with the audacity to run" began at noon. Jazayeri and Ashton are both runners and chose to partake in the first wave, but they said it wasn’t in the spirit of athleticism.

“We’re doing the first one mostly so we can get it out of the way so we can hit the beer tent,” Jazayeri said.

Following the first wave was the legends wave, for those who weigh 250 pounds or more, and then the third "waddlers" wave for everyone else.

Jazayeri said she was excited to conquer the 0.62-mile course, even though she and Ashton have other races lined up for the summer.

Floyd Brinton and Bryant Fiesta also took part in the first race, with Fiesta taking second place and Brinton taking third, although no one was keeping track.

Fiesta, who crossed the finish line with a doughnut in his mouth, said he and Brinton are a bit competitive so they decided to run instead of walk. They still made time to hit every doughnut stand, though.

Fiesta, Brinton and others who finished the first wave early were met with a mix of cheers and friendly booing, in the underachieving spirit of the race.

Most participants, like Kimberly Whitehead and Jacque Rose, said they saw the Lard Butt race as another opportunity to get out and enjoy the weather. The two friends wore doughnut inner tubes and participated in the "waddlers" wave with their kids. 

The event also collected donations of nonperishable foods for the University of Montana Food Pantry that piled up by the registration tent. People also posed for photos in Lard Butt apparel, from which some of the proceeds will go toward the Poverello Center.

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