Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Big Sky Distance Project

So, some of you have asked - what is the Big Sky Distance Project (BSDP)?

Well, several years ago, a group of Montana runners met on the banks of the Jefferson River to discuss the state of the sport in the big sky country. One of the items that came up was the creation of a USA Track & Field club that would allow us to compete as a team at USATF or other events.

After sitting idle for a while, the club came to being in 2006. The initial impetus was to allow us to take some teams to the USATF Club Marathon Relay Championships in Denver. That first trip proved very successful. We had 2 men's master's teams that both won money (finishing 2nd and 3rd).

Since then, we have raced as teams at the MSU and UM cross country meets in 2006 and 2007; raced with men's and women's teams at the 2007 USAT Club Marathon Relay Championships; and, individuals have worn the BSDP colors at the 2007 USATF Cross Country Champiohips, the Big Sky State Games, the Califronia International Marathon, the Salt Lake City 1/2 Marathon and other races around the country.

The real underlying goals of the BSDP is to 1) provide a sense of "team" and "Montana pride" for Montana athletes and 2) pursue competitive opportunities for Montana runners.

The club has no dues or fees. We don't have any formal home base. There are several of us around the state who get together when we can at races to discuss the sport and to throw around ideas. It includes people like myself, Ray and Nicole Hunt, Zombro, Jeff Thomas, Anders Brooker and Dewey Peacock. We try to look at what events are coming up and what we can do to promote Montana athletes competing at those events.

We aren't trying to be elite per se. We are trying to open up opportunities for any Montana athlete who wants to race competitively and maximize their performances. We also like to have a good time when we get toghther and represent our state. The road trips to Denver and Boulder have been a blast.

We also have the opportunity to represent Montana at two upcoming events that are almost in our backyard. First would be the USATF Masters Track and Field Championhsips in Spokane in early August. Second, and also in Spokane, will be the USATF Club Cross Country Championships. We really think that we have the opportunity to be competitive from a team stanpoint in some of the races. In fact, I think that the master's teams on both the men's and women's sides have the potential to be in the hunt for podium spots.

In the end, it's just another tool to try to generate interest and excitement about the sport from those within the sport. We don't want this to be some mythical club that people think is only for the state's elite. We want it to be something that encourages people to stay in the sport, to do all they can to maximize their potential and to help spread the word of what a great lifetime sport this is.

If you're interested in learning more about the BSDP, leave me your email in a comment to this post; or, log onto and check out the BSDP link.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.


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