Dave Carpenter has a vision of what Black Hills Area Team FCA Endurance can become.

The 63-year-old formed a new group that intertwines adult Christian runners, cyclists, triathletes and those who support endurance athletics with sharing and growing in their faith.

“I feel like there’s a vacuum or a hole here for this,” Carpenter said. “It’s going to be for a niche group of people. I know that.”

What he didn’t know was how many people were going to show up at the YMCA Courtyard for March 28’s initial informational meeting. Carpenter gave a 45-minute presentation to five people about the new group. It came after months of trying to spread the word about his new adventure.

Carpenter searched area triathlon results looking for names. 

Then he went through the phone book matching those names with addresses. Next, he sent out dozens of letters and posted flyers at churches in Rapid City.

A handful of interested people is a good start.

“At least a few people showed up,” Carpenter said with a smile last Wednesday. “It could have been empty. If we get a core group of men and women, then it will grow.”

Carpenter isn’t expecting big things right away. He hopes the newly-formed huddle — one of roughly 60 groups across the country — can steadily add members. He wants it to develop into a core group of 10 to 20 that meets on a monthly basis for fellowship and Bible study. Getting together for bike rides, runs or swims and a small devotion will occur on a weekly basis.

“Every huddle has its own nuances,” Carpenter said. “The common theme is to unite together to help each other grow in their Christian walk, challenge each other and also be a service to the community. There’s a lot of different ways that we plan to serve this whole area.”

Some of those are volunteering time at local races, taking part in community service projects or supporting huddle members taking part in endurance events or races.

Carpenter entered into the endurance sports world seven years ago when he ran a sprint triathlon in North Platte, Neb. A former administrator, coach and teacher in the Cornhusker State, Carpenter moved to Rapid City following his retirement four years ago.

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He’s continued to take part in short triathlons. He’s currently working to merge his knowledge of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from his days as an educator with his current love of endurance sports.

“I spent the last year trying to make more connections,” Carpenter said, “and trying to let people know about Team FCA Endurance.”

The group is willing to take on all comers, Carpenter said. He added that one doesn’t have to be in elite physical shape to join the huddle.

“If someone wants to combine their outdoor athleticism and be challenged and grow in their walk with Christ,” Carpenter said, “this is a great organization.”

For more information on Black Hills Area Team FCA Endurance, contact Carpenter at 545-4553.

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