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September 2015 – Dan Bjerke

Q. Where are you from originally and what are you doing now?

A. I grew up on the Coteau de Prairie east of Watertown, SD. I attended Clear Lake High School, South Dakota State University and South Dakota School of Mines & Technology where I received a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering. I was the Rapid City Public Works Director and am currently an Engineer for Cretex Concrete Products here in Rapid City.

Q.  What do you do when you’re not running?

A. I am active in several sports year round besides running. In the winter months I like to ski and play hockey in the Rapid City Recreation Hockey League at Roosevelt Ice Arena. In the summer months I enjoy bicycling, hiking, camping and fishing.

Q. How long have you been running and how did you get started? How long have you been a BHRC member? What other activities do you enjoy?

A. I started running at Clear Lake High School. My coach was Bill Robinson who became very successful at Rapid City Central with many state champion teams. He was very influential in mentoring me when I started running. I participated in cross country and track along with basketball and baseball for the Cardinals. My older brother, Deane, was one of the top middle distance runners in South Dakota both in high school and college. He was an inspiration to me as I started running. I followed his footsteps to SDSU and ran on the Jackrabbits cross country and track team as a middle distance runner. After college I moved to Spearfish and became involved with the running group there. We ran every Monday night from BHSC running anywhere from 4 miles to 7 miles on the roads around Spearfish. On weekends, members of our group would travel to the many 10k races around the Black Hills area and in Wyoming. The 10k was the standard race length at the time. There were only a couple of 5ks and BHSC had a 15k after the cross country season that started in Spearfish Canyon and ended on Main Street in Spearfish. I did manage to run the BHSU 15k under 50 minutes once. While living in Spearfish, I volunteered to help coach the high school cross country kids which was one of the more rewarding experiences I have had. There were very few women runners that participated in the running events while I lived in Spearfish. That has changed for the better. Now there are more women running than men. I have been a BHRC member for about 5 years.

Q. Would you rather run with a group or train alone? Do you listen to music, run with pets, or commune with nature?

A. I like to run in a group. The BHRC has offered that and it has been a lot of fun running the Wednesday night group runs and Track Attack. I also have been running with the smaller trail run group. I like the camaraderie and being out enjoying Mother nature during all seasons.

Q. What is your favorite distance or race? Are you currently training for anything?

A. My favorite distance is probably the 10k just because I have run so many of them over the years. The Trails Series runs have been the most fun where it’s you against the trail no matter how easy or hard. Every trail race has its own personality. The toughest by far is the Victoria Secret Dirty Half. I am currently training to run in the Wild West Relay – Get Your Ass Over The Pass that goes 200 miles from Ft. Collins to Steamboat and for the trail series races.

Q. Do you have a pre-race ritual? Favorite pig-out food?

A. I really don’t have a pre-race ritual other than making sure I have warmed up and stretched before the race.

Q. What piece of equipment you couldn’t run without?

A. I am not a big Garmin person like a lot of runners are so I don’t carry one with me.

Q. Pavement or trails?

A. I much prefer running trails than pavement or bike path.

Q. What advice do you have for new runners?

A. My advice to new runners is to start your training out slow and build yourself over time. It will make running a more pleasurable experience, one you can do for a lifetime.

Q. What are your goals for the future?

A. My goals have not really changed over the years. I believe staying in shape will create a healthy and rewarding lifestyle along with having some awesome lifelong friends. It has worked for me.