Nuggets from Helena: The Smoke House Marathon of 1916

The year 1916 was a big year for running in Helena.

In late April the Mount Helena Handicap took place: this race was a Nugget from Helena in the Sept. 16 IR. The State Fair Marathon was held on Sept. 30. And on Oct. 28 was the Smoke House Marathon: this month’s featured Nugget from Helena.

The reader must expect a different marathon race in this writing than what is a marathon today. Up to and into the middle 1970s, a run covering more than two miles was often referred to as a marathon.

The Smoke House at 11 S. Main St. in 1916 was few yards to the left of today’s Windbag Saloon. The Smoke House had billiards, pocket billiards and cigars. Today a large office building occupies the land.

Oct. 28: Vic Norman, the challenger protagonist of the April race, had his fingers involved in making the Smoke House race. “Vic Norman said he would give novices and soldiers a three-minute handicap, and for Harvey Yates and Ben Burgess a two- minute handicap. Vic will start on scratch with Wesley Binko of interscholastic fame (this recognizes Wesley’s involvement at the Interscholastic Meet). Medals were to be given to first, second and third

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