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February 2017-Chris Riley

Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

A. I grew up in Sioux Falls and attended college on the east side of the state. I moved to the Black Hills for my first teaching job about four years ago and currently live in Spearfish and teach & coach in Belle Fourche.

Q. How long have you been running and how did you get started?

A. I started doing some 5K’s in middle school in Sioux Falls but didn’t get serious about running until I joined the Washington High School track team as a freshman. I ended up being a decent runner so I also joined cross country and I’ve just never stopped.

Q. Would you rather run with a group or alone?

A. Depends on the day. I love the weekend group trail runs and enjoy having accountability for workouts with a partner, but there is also something that draws me to the solitude of a quiet run alone.

Q. Do you prefer roads or trails?

A. Yes! I like both. I enjoy trails for the natural beauty and challenge that they create but I also enjoy roads because I tend to trip less often on them.

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

A. It would be impossible to pick one. I love everything from shorter track races like the 800 or mile all the way to a marathon. I really enjoy the experience of a marathon but the time it takes to bounce back from one and race again tests my patience. I do especially enjoy the Mystic Mountain Trail Run as well as the Heart of the Hills race. I am currently training for the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in June and am also signed up for the Black Hills 50-miler later that month, but at this point I would hesitate to say I am “training “ for either.

Q. What are your goals for the future?

A. I hope to keep getting stronger and faster as an individual runner. My last marathon (Crazy Horse) was 3:05 so I’d definitely like to break 3:00 and then see how much more time I can shave off. I also have ambitions of doing a 100-mile race someday. I also hope to continue working with the cross country and track runners on our teams in Belle Fourche and to see them reach their personal goals and become a more successful distance program.

Q. What is your favorite pig out food?

A. Pre-race I usually eat a banana for a short race and peanut butter toast for a longer race. People that know me know that I am habitually late for races, usually showing up towards the last minute so that I am more nervous about not making the starting time than I am about the actual race. I enjoy pizza, chocolate cake and ice cream.

Q. What do you love most about running? What do you like least?

A. The thing I like most about running is the sense of accomplishment and self-worth that I get from setting goals and working towards them, even if I don’t accomplish all of them. There is such an amazingly diverse group of people that participate in our sport so I think that meeting others and learning about them and their journeys and dreams is pretty awesome. The thing that I like least is getting an injury just when you start to feel like your training and racing is on a roll- those minor setbacks require patience that can be very hard to deal with.

Q. Who inspires you most?

A. People that inspire me the most are those that are constantly positive and uplifting and those that always make you feel like a more complete person after you have spent some time around them. A few that stand out are many of the local trail runners- and that is why I try to get to as many of those races and runs as possible.

Q. Do you have any favorite races that you have run?

A. Two races that I consider “big” would be doing the 2014 Sioux Falls Half-Marathon and 2015 Sioux Falls Marathon as a tandem with a close friend, Karl. It was very special to have him as a teammate and to share the unique experience of racing with him. It’s something that I hope we can continue for a long time going forward. We are tentatively hoping to do Grandma’s together this June in Duluth.

Q. What advice do you have for new runners?

A. Running is like climbing a ladder: You can’t get to the top in one step, but you can certainly get to the bottom in one! Be patient, be persistent, and good things will happen. Show up to a group run or race, even if you don’t know anyone. Many of the best friends I’ve made since moving to this area are people I’ve met through the Runner’s Club. And finally, if Dan Bjerke says there is a long downhill coming up, he means it!!