There is a certain kind of person in the world. He or she has a knack for being "in the know" about the next race coming up, who's putting it on, who the big competitors are, whether the event is worthwhile, and where--exactly--the starting line is. This is the person who rolls up to registration and is immediately recognized by the race director, given a hug, and asked if everything is going well. This person adds legitimacy to the event because they do--and do well in--so many every year. You'd like to hate this person (just a little bit) because they always just know the right thing to do, but you can't because he or she gives you tips on your form, on what the next big race is going to be, on who to watch out for, and all without you needing to beg.
I am not one of those people, and I started Northern Plains Athletics for people like me. I hope this site helps you in your athletic endeavors.
- Matt Burton-Kelly
Founder, Northern Plains Athletics
Where are you located?
I (Matt) am currently living in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. You'll notice that the region served is all within a good day's drive. I moved out here several years ago from Vermont, intend to stay at least another few years, and just want to help make life easier for other endurance athletes.
Why just the region? Why not do everything and take over the world?
A) Other regions have their own calendars, B) I don't live in other regions, and C) the largest national event calendars have a great deal of financial backing, something I lack. Given the choice between 1) doing a poor job of scraping the web to automatically import all events in the world and 2) being comprehensive and knowledgable about events in the region, I chose (2).
What is this obsession with being comprehensive? Can't people just search on their own to find events?
There are far more events out there than I realized when I moved to the area. Not as many as in other regions, but we're working on it. As someone who started in running, moved to triathlons, then to cycling, then to adventure racing, and back again, I understand the amount of crossover that could occur if people knew everything that was available. Lumping all the events together in one list and showing them on a map makes people consider not only that they could try another discipline, but that it might even be easier to try another discipline near home than drive across the state to do something they've already done.
So why not team sports?
I have to draw the line somewhere. My experience with team sports has been limited, and I'm less interested, but that's not to say there's a ban on someone else posting tournaments on the site. Most team sports have a specific league and a set schedule, in which case individual players aren't going to be trolling the web looking for events.
Who else helps you with the site?
You do! It's pretty easy to submit a new event. I won't mess with it except to tweak any information that isn't correct (location information is twerky sometimes). Web hosting is provided by Toe'ds, who want your business, so be sure to check them out. Ted Bibby is the chief bug reporter and real-life promoter of the site.