Every year, runners from all over Montana flock to a designated town for the Montana Cup cross-country race. This year, the race took place in Plains, Mont. A handful of runners, some of whom were members of the MSU Running Club, dug up their yellow jerseys and represented Bozeman’s running crowd.
James Mauch, one of the running club members, described the race as “A friendly competition,” saying, “It brings the whole state together. It’s also about team camaraderie.”
The annual Montana Cup allows the club and other Bozeman runners to congregate with teams representing Butte, Billings, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell and Missoula. Typically, the race is 6.5 kilometers with varying terrain, as the location switches every year.
“You’re teamed up by city, and it’s just like a high school varsity race with scoring. People count on you which only makes you race better,” said club member Will Boekel.
The results of the Cup race ended up with Missoula winning the open women’s, men’s, and women’s masters categories, with Bozeman winning the men’s master’s category. “Next year, we just need to train and recruit other MSU and Bozeman runners to beat Missoula,” said Mauch.
In preparation for this race and other events, the running club meets three times a week to practice. Running club organizer Christian Heck explains that the busiest time for the club is from August until the Montana Cup, with varying meeting times to hit the trails. For many at MSU, the running club is a way to stay fit in an environment that welcomes all skill levels.
Heck says that the goal of attracting avid and less devoted runners is something that the club strives for. “Although we are relatively small now, we are going to expand and gain members until we have this great mix of competitive runners and social runners of all speeds. Until then, we want to be able to give people further reason to get out there every day and run in this amazing town.”
With this in mind, the club’s members look forward to staying involved in the running environment Bozeman offers. “For me it’s about being able to go out on a trail run and being able to explore the area,” said Boekel. He and the club does that as they hit a new trail run every weekend.
Members stay dedicated to the club for reasons from the enjoyment of running to finding the mentality to stay in shape. The club allows the members to experience racing in a less aggressive environment than they may have experienced in high school or college.
Jenna Delwiche said the pure enjoyment of running and being in shape is something that she gains from the club. “I’m competing to prove to myself that my running glory days aren’t over yet. I signed up for the Montana Cup to find the motivation to run more,” she said.
This motivation is something that shapes the MSU Running Club and its members. They strive to use their skills to compete in varying events in order to stay in shape and build camaraderie amongst themselves. The Montana Cup gave the club a chance to use their training toward competition, fitness and the sheer enjoyment of running.
For more information about the MSU Running Club visit their website, http://runmsu.com/.