Q & A With Big Bear Stampede's John Nichols

The Big Bear Stampede 9k takes place September 9th in Gardiner and for 2017 it is the 6th race in the Treasure State Trail Series. John Nichols became involved with the event during the inaugural race in 2013 just after he moved to Gardiner, MT. He assumed more responsibility with race management and Big Bear Stampede organization as the race evolved. When he's not involved with race directing you can find him out enjoying the trails himself. He'll never turn down a fun, adventurous run in in the Beartooths, Yellowstone, or any of the other great nearby public lands.

How did the Big Bear Stampede get started? 

The race got started originally as a memorial race for a well known and loved, entrepreneurial Gardiner community member who lost his life to depression.  It quickly morphed into a community-wide mission to raise awareness of depression as something that can be addressed and treated.

The Big Bear Stampede Foundation looks like a great organization in Gardiner helping those battling depression. How does the race fit into the Foundation? Aside from participating in the race, what's the next step for runner's to help further the mission of the Foundation?  

The race is our primary annual event to raise awareness of depression and get the community engaged. It is through this open discussion and dialog that we are able to remove some of the stigma often associated with depression and seeking treatment. Our Foundation not only supports Gardiner, but all of Park County and even Gallatin County as some of our depression related resources are located in Bozeman.  

In recent years there have been multiple trail runners to speak out about their experiences battling depression in the past and how running helps them continue to stay balanced. What correlation have you seen with trail running help with depression? 

We are firm believers that exercise and physical activity are an excellent tools to help battle depression. Nikki Kimball, who has been very public about her own battle with depression, has been a speaker at our race the past two years...and will be again this year.  We are very honored to have Nikki as part pf our team helping to drive our mission. 

What is the course like for the Big Bear Stampede? What makes it unique?

The 5k and 9k courses offer up enough hills and technical terrain to be challenging for all runners, but not as demanding as more hardcore events (like the Bridger Ridge Run or The Rut), so even recreational runners can finish and have fun. The 9k offers up about 1k feet of climbing on a mixture of tight singletrack and FS roads, but is 100% runnable for fit runners.  Expansive views of several prominent Yellowstone peaks (Electric, Sepulcher, Bunsen, Everts, and more) occur throughout the entire course. The Big Bear Stampede could possibly be the most scenic course in the entire Treasure State Trail Series!

What does the post-race atmosphere look like? 

Fun with just a little bit of seriousness.  We will have a large assortment of post-race cookies, muffins, fresh cut fruit, water, Gatorade, and beer for all runners and volunteers.  We get the excitement started with our kids race -- a short, super fun obstacle course that the kiddos love!  Then just before the awards ceremony, Nikki Kimball will lead a brief (10 min or so) discussion on depression...that is of course why we are there.  We then present awards and door prizes.  We've been know to have great door prizes in the past! 

There is some fun stuff to do in Gardiner, what would be your recommendation of top things to do post-race?  

You can't mention Gardiner without mentioning Yellowstone.  Go for a hike in the park, view wildlife (the elk rut will be starting up), bring your fly rod, soak in the Boiling River...there's no shortage of things to do in YNP.  It'll be a good time of year to eat lunch and have a drink at any number of Gardiner restaurants with great outdoor decks.  Book a raft trip down the Yellowstone River.  

Anything else you would like to add?

The Big Bear Stampede is super excited to be part of the Treasure State Trail Series.  We can't wait to see everyone September 9!

Thank you John! We can't wait to see the course and experience what Gardiner has to offer. Registration is still open here or at  http://www.bigbearstampede.org/. Current standings for the Treasure State Trail Series can be found here. Thank you to Altra Running for sponsoring the series and providing great prize packages to the top five men and women at the end of the series.


Post a Comment


Twitter Feed


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required