Our friend Chris has an amazing ability. Really, you might consider it a super power in the running world. He can run at any pace, with almost any member of our running community, with the exact same stride and effort. You would be hard pressed to find a better ambassador for our local running community than Chris Anderson. He finds joy in volunteering at freezing cold ultra-marathons, meets countless different groups of friends all across the city to run with throughout the week, gives some of the most thoughtful gifts in celebration and willingly shares his passion and knowledge of birds in the coolest possible way. Ladies and gentlemen we proudly present our nationally recognized Meet the Local Blog series post today; in his own words, the man, the myth, the #CaNotOnInstagram – Chris Anderson.
Who/what inspired you to start running?
Both of my parents were runners, and I remember watching my dad run local road races when I was young. I’m not sure if I thought it looked fun or painful…probably some of each. It eventually led to trying cross country in high school, and never looking back.
When did you start running?
In earnest during the summer of 1995, before starting high school.
Where is your favorite place to run?
Locally, Good Earth State Park or the gravel roads north of Sioux Falls. I also really enjoy the extensive trail system in Columbia, Missouri where my brother lived for several years.
What is your favorite weather to run in?
I prefer the cold over the hotter times of the year. 45-50 degrees and calm with a few clouds would be ideal.
Do you prefer group runs or solo runs?
I primarily prefer running with other people, but there are also times where I enjoy the solitude of going by myself.
Have you experienced any dreaded injuries? How did you cope/persevere?
I’ve had one stress fracture, one broken foot, and several other drawn-out overuse injuries (IT band, hip flexor). I don’t enjoy cross-training very much, but with the bone injuries, I did spend a lot of time in the pool. As with many things (and it’s especially true of life during the last year), you do your best to adjust, find some joy in your new routine, and shoot for improvements in other areas while plotting your return. I also ate a lot of cheesecake.
Favorite post-run meal?
I love pancakes and eggs after a weekend run. A little chocolate milk after a long run is pretty good too.
Advice you would give to somebody thinking about starting to run?Keep it fun and a source of stress relief rather than stress creation. Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, just focus on your path and improving yourself. When I first moved to Sioux Falls, I was coming off a several bumpy years and time away from running. I decided to start again, but I could barely make it 3 minutes without stopping to walk. It was discouraging, and difficult not to make comparisons to my past self or other runners I knew. But I kept doing run-walks, and over time the running intervals got longer, the increments began to add up, and eventually I was running 3 miles without stopping. Eventually, I joined one of the Sioux Falls Area Running Club group runs, and being part of a group provided additional motivation to push farther than I had gone before.
Describe your best “runner’s high” moment.
A few years ago, some friends and I ran the Whistlestop Marathon in northern Wisconsin, and I learned the value of starting conservatively. Training had gone terribly that summer, with some small injuries and other interruptions, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish the race. I ran the first half very cautiously, monitoring my legs but also just taking in the picturesque surroundings (perfect weather and peak fall colors along Lake Superior). After the midpoint, I realized I felt really good, like maybe this wasn’t going to be a disaster after all. Another few miles went by, and I noticed my mile splits were getting slightly faster each time. I struggled to wrap my brain around what was happening, and thought “Aren’t you supposed to be falling apart at this point, not going faster?” Apparently not this day. While the feeling didn’t last forever and the usual rigor mortis did finally set in, it was only for the final few miles rather than the usual eternity. Stiffly making it through the final twists and turns, I knew that I had run exactly the right race to not only survive but actually feel good for as long as possible. It was far from my fastest marathon, but it was my best.
Things have been very busy here at 605 Running Company. So much of our focus last year was spent on creating OMNI channels for our product delivery. Basically, we were in full on survival mode and in many ways the retail portion of our business is still very much operating under survival conditions. We put our entire inventory online, offered new delivery options, created different personal shopping opportunities, shortened our business hours to cut costs and made many other strategic decisions that undoubtedly aged me.
We are focused on bringing back the fun in 2021. We have been very intentional about creating hybrid running events, refocusing our community fundraising and volunteering efforts and promoting our neighborhood businesses. Our business is built by building a community. Just this year we created the Winter Wonderland BINGO Challenge, we are currently running a food drive for Feeding South Dakota, we are hosting a product drive for Women’s Day of Service, and our Race Crew has been able to resume our volunteer efforts with the St. Francis House. This part of the blog post you might want to write down: Starting in March we will be restarting Saturday morning group run and extending our store hours on Thursday, Friday & Saturday until 7pm!
When you talk about fun and Downtown Sioux Falls and the running community the natural progression is running on St. Patrick’s Day, enjoying the parade and maybe having a special drink or two. As you may or may not know the organizers of the annual parade made the extremely difficult decision to cancel this year’s (and last years) parade due to the pandemic. I have nothing but respect for this decision out of an abundance of caution and I know that the good folks on the parade committee truly want all of us to be happy and healthy. On a fair weather day a Downtown parade can attract 50,000 people; not having the ability to predict numbers or ensure safe mitigation practices, this decision really makes a lot of sense.
So let’s talk about the running portion of the holiday festivities and the impact of Downtown business. We’ll start with the running part. 605 Running Company has been looking for a way to be more involved with St. Patrick’s Day racing for years. So when my personal friend and local race-directing wonder woman Karen Lechtenberg reached out to us about supporting a new race called Lucky 7’s we jumped at the opportunity. Karen is truly passionate about our running community and has created a hybrid event that truly serves our local runners. Together we knew that the lack of a parade would have a significant impact on the businesses in Downtown Sioux Falls. Earlier this week for Presidents’ Day we shared a quote from Theodore Roosevelt,
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”
It is with that spirit, Karen and I worked to create the Eat, Drink & Shop GOLD Rush for Lucky 7’s participants. Working with our partners at Anderson Race Management, neighboring Downtown businesses and praying for warm temperatures, negative tests and more vaccines; we hope to do what we can, with what we have, where we are in Downtown Sioux Falls. The St. Patrick’s Day holiday will look a bit different this year, but we still want to have safe and responsible fun.
If you go:
Who: Tres Hermanas Race Organizers (Karen Lechtenberg), Anderson Race Management (Race Timing), 605 Running Company (Downtown Business & Running Party Animals)
What: Lucky 7’s Road Race and Eat, Drink & Shop GOLD Rush
Where: Races all start and finish at Remedy Brewing Company, find out more about the Eat, Drink & Shop GOLD Rush here
When: All festivities will happen between March 1st & March 17th (Race Day is March 13th)
Why: This event supports the Sioux Falls Humane Society – event organizers will be collecting donations on race day!
Register to run here
If you spend any time on the south side of Sioux Falls there is a very good chance you’ve spotted the Chargers out for a run. This amazing program continues to grow under the guidance of Coach Luke VanderLeest. We caught up with Coach to discuss the past year and to get a preview of what is coming up this season for the Sioux Falls Christian Chargers.
Please give our readers a little historical perspective on your program. How has your team changed from last spring and fall to now?
On the guys side, the last 4 seasons have included 1 state title and finishing as the runner up to St. Thomas Moore 3 times. We were looking forward to another battle with STM last season, but obviously didn’t get that chance due to COVID. Our girls finished in the top 10 at the state meet last time we competed, and were poised to be very, very competitive last year. After graduating a number of talented seniors, we’re probably like every other team - we have a lot of questions and a lot of anticipation heading into the upcoming track season.
On the bright side, one of the great things about being in a small school like SFC is the fact that most of our kids are multi-sport athletes. And so even though our kids were underclassmen (or even middle schoolers) the last time they competed on a track, they’ve all been competing at a high level in other sports (our track kids have contributed to 6 state title in other sports in the past year and a half) and I think that helps them keep a competitive edge.
What has the last year been like from a coaching perspective?
The past year has been a challenge, as a counselor and Bible teacher, one of my favorite parts of coaching is the building of relationships and the lessons that are learned about faith and life through training and competing. With a forced quarantine, we had to be creative about how to continue cultivating the culture and discipline and relationships that are so crucial to our program.
I decided to create our own version of the CDC last spring - it stood for the Charger Discipline Challenge. Our athletes were given various workouts and challenges each week, and we created various competitions throughout the spring for kids to do remotely and we kept track of point totals to help motivate the kids. Not only did this help our kids physically, but they also had to complete challenges like scripture memorization, phone calls with assistant coaches and other non-track related things that would help them continue growing relationally and spiritually.
Tell me about who your team leaders are and some of the things they’ve done to traverse the student-athlete life during a global pandemic.
Along with the Charger Discipline Challenge that helped us through the track season, our distance kids really stepped up this past summer and did an amazing job of preparing for the fall cross country season by meeting for group runs and other outdoor, socially distanced activities.
What does your current and upcoming season look like?
With a decrease in covid-cases across the state, we’re optimistic that we’ll be able to kick off our season in early March and other than some of our standard safety protocols, we anticipate the season having a pretty “normal” feel to it.
After a successful cross country season (girls finished as state runner-up and the boys defended their state title with an undefeated season) we think we’re poised to have a great spring. Additionally, several of our track stars contributed to state titles in volleyball and boys soccer and there is a great deal of excitement about lacing up the spikes and getting back on the track!
Which athletes should we be on the lookout for in the upcoming season?
We have a lot of athletes that finished the 2019 season on a high note, and with nearly two more years of growth and maturity and success in other sports, we think we have a power-packed roster for the spring track season. On the girls side, we have several returning members of state medaling sprint relay teams such as Emma Korn, Ellie Lems, Brooklyn Pater, Moriah Harrison and we expect to see great things from sprinters Brenna Beyke, Sidney Oostra and Hailey Scholten. Our distance crew will be led by Taryn Whisler, Madison VanderHaar, Grace Lenning and Sydney Campbell plus a couple of 8th graders who made a splash in cross country - Margaret Vogel and Kiera Pinto.
On the boys side, we have a lot of experienced athletes. In fact, we have a whole host of guys who medaled and won state titles in various events back in 2019 when they were in 8th, 9th and 10th grade! We return almost everyone from our 2019 state championship 4x400 (Chris Oostra, Eli Gillet, Tyler Prins & Noah VanDonkersgoed) and championship 4x100 (Isaiah Harrison, Eli Gillet, Carter VanDonge) most of these guys were also part of our 2019 runner up 4x200 and medley teams. We’re also really excited about sprinters Isaiah Young, Mason Adams and one of the top hurdlers in the state - Mitchell Walker.
Our two time defending state cross country champions should be able to score points in the distance events. We will be led by All-State runners Isaac Davelaar, Isaac Engbers, Derrek VanderLeest and Patrick Vogel. Contributions are also expected from state XC medalists Daniel Colby, Nathan Koole, Maksim Strizheus along with up and coming sophomores Connor Pruis and Carson Engbers.
We haven’t been strong in the field events that past few years, but after high jumping 6-05 as a sophomore and pleasing crowds with monster dunks this basketball season, we’re excited for Noah VanDonkersgoed’s contribution in the high jump. And based on how they finished their rookie seasons in 2019, we should see some great things from long jumpers Eli Gillet and Carter VanDonge as well as throwers Jayden Witte and Wyatt Markie.
Tell us the best way to follow Sioux Falls Christian High School Track and Cross Country
The best way to follow SFC is on twitter @sfc_xc and meet results will all be posted to Athletic.net
In your opinion how can the 605 Community support high school athletics?
I love the opportunities provided for our community through local road races, trail races and organized group runs. As a team, we’ve always enjoyed helping with the SF Marathon and love the quality gear and knowledgeable staff that assists our kids at 605 Running Company.
Finally, leave us with a positive message for all runners heading into 2021
I always tell my athletes that there are a LOT of challenges in life that are out of their control. (Track is notorious for this - snow, wind, rain, heat, spring break, prom, etc. Not to mention last season’s Covid quarantine!) But you get to control how you’re going to respond and react to these challenges - so let’s choose to make the most of each and every situation!
This article was produced by the 605 Running Company marketing team. If you would like to submit a story idea please email firstname.lastname@example.org