The "M" in Boise State Broncos' "Bam!"

Hukka showed great improvement in her first race on the track this season.

BOISE, Idaho--Boise State sophomore Minttu Hukka set a national Finnish indoor record when she took 33 seconds off her personal best in the 5,000 at the UW Invitational in Seattle last month.  Hukka has been training hard and believes that consistent training prepared her to run well.

Hukka, who transferred to Boise State from Lamar University, is from Kotka, a town on the coast of Finland.  Hukka was part of a Bronco trio in the Top 10 that also included Bronco freshmen Allie Ostrander and Brenna Peloquin.  

"It was a really good race for all of us," Hukka said.  "I really like to race and train with these girls.  We have our own group that we call "BAM--Brenna, Allie and Minttu".  That's our nice little group and we like to train and race together and I feel like it's really helpful to all of us."

Hukka considers herself a strong runner, and that she still has some speed even though she's running longer distances this fall.  It is the belief that a strong runner makes a good runner that led Minttu to co-founded her own website called Strongrunnerchicks.com, which is subtitled "Breaking the barriers of traditional women's running".

The mission statement reads as follows:

We’re a growing group of girls & young women dedicated to fostering strength in the female running community. From high school runners to top collegiate NCAA athletes to runners that deadlift twice their body weight, we’re accepting of all body types, running routines, and eating habits, and proving that you don’t have to fit the mold to be a female distance runner.

Strong Runner Chicks started as a way to inspire female runners to embrace their strength rather than cover it up; to embody the curves, muscle, and female bodies that we were given; to foster strength in the female running community and connect females of all ages, competitive and recreational runners alike, to an online space where we share ideas, tips, and personal stories on topics related to running, racing, strength training, fueling right and defining what it means to be a strong runner chick.

"I started that last year," Hukka said.  I had a girl on my team at Lamar called Megan Flanagan.  We started that together and he had similar ideas and opinions about running and overall, like lifestyle and everything, so we started that because we really wanted to encourage girls to be strong when they're runners.  So many people think that you need to be as thin as possible to run well, but we think that it's more that you need to be strong to run well.  We want to encourage girls to have this attitude and be brave to be strong.

One of the many runners featured on the site is Boise State's own Marisa Howard, who earned All-America status in the steeplechase in both 2014 and 2015 and is now on the Bronco coaching staff.

"I really admire Marisa," Minttu said, "and I feel like she's a really good point that I can mirror to, because she's a steeplechaser as I am.  I feel like she's somebody that I can talk to and ask questions and she has so much more experience than I have."

Hukka is expected to return to Seattle to race this weekend at the Husky Classic.


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