It’s not just a running competition, it’s a classroom.
The upcoming Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships East Regional meet on Sunday, Nov. 4 will give an invaluable cross-country running experience for everyone from high school harriers all the way down to five-year-old striders.
For an estimated 1,000 runners at Tyler State Park, it will be an opportune chance to compete on a big stage.
While it will be fun to win awards and race all-out, one of the most redeeming aspects of this event is just taking it all in.
This meet will have runners and teams from all over the Mid-Atlantic competing for a chance to go to the Cross Country Coaches Youth Nationals meet, which is in Louisville, Ky. on Nov. 17.
There’s going to be excitement in the air at Tyler.
“It’s going to be a spectacular meet for the kids,’’ predicted race director Mike Gross. “They learn about cross country. These are the best kids from all over the East that will be here.
“There will be all levels, it’s inclusive. So anyone can run. We will have people who are just starting. They’re welcome and they will be celebrated. I mean we have an age group five and under. They can jog with their parents.’’
Here are the age-group categories and distances:
5 and under 1K fun run; 6-8 Girls 2K; 6-8 Boys 2K; 9-10 Girls 3K; 9-10 Boys 3K; 11-12 Girls 3K; 11-12 Boys 3K; 13-14 Girls 4K; 13-14 Boys 4K; 15-16 / 17-18 Girls 5K; 15-16 / 17-18 Boys 5K.
“In the upper age groups, 11-12-13-14, we have some really talented kids,’’ Gross said. “That’s kind of the sweet spot for our meet. We do have a high school division. But it’s the day after states and it’s not really focused on them.’’
Gross was cross country coach at Council Rock South for a decade. He still gets a kick out of working with kids.
“There’s nothing better,’’ Gross said. “I still talk to my high school coach regularly. Everything I learned from him I tried to pass on. And I learned from other coaches along the way too.
“I still like to compete but there’s nothing better than watching these kids just start and become the amazing the athletes they become.’’
For some of these kids, it will be an experience which will help make them runners for high school, college and beyond.
“The stuff they remember is the camaraderie,’’ Gross said. “The teammates, the getting to know one another. Qualifying for another meet, going to another state. Someplace they’ve never heard of, getting to compete. That’s what they will remember.
“They may or may not remember how they did in the race. But they definitely will remember the other pieces.’’
There’s still time for teams and individual kids to register.
There’s also an open 5K for adults and open runners.
Go to: https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Newtown/CCCNYCOpenCrossCountry5K?remMeAttempt=
Learn about the natural running movement at “Born to Run”
Hillary Goodman, owner of the Born to Run running store in Ambler, knows of what she speaks.
The former 3:05 marathoner/1:27 half-marathoner is hosting a talk by Golden Harper, who founded and designed the Altra Zero Drop shoe, at her store (821 North Bethlehem Pike, Springhouse, Pa.) on Thursday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m.
In recent times, many runners have been switching over to minimal-type shoes to reduce injuries and do more to replicate racing conditions in their training.
“Over the last few years, there’s been a lot of confusion surrounding the natural running movement,’’ Goodman said.
“Recently, these types of shoes have definitely expanded, got more cushioned and are more like regular running shoes, except for the fact they are zero drop. They have the same amount of cushion from heel to forefoot. Just as if you were running barefoot.
“They also have a nice round toebox, which a lot of people like. Because normal running shoes are pointed and your foot is not that way.’’
Harper will discuss why zero drop shoes are beneficial.
“I think people would find this interesting,’’ Goodman said. “Just how a running shoe company has started and grown tremendously in the past eight years.
“He’s also going to be talking about becoming a better runner and an injury-free runner.’’
For more information, call 215-641-0410 or visit www.borntoruninc.com
David’s New Day 5K, 9 a.m., Warminster Community Park, Warminster. Contact www.davidsnewday.org
12 annual Massaroni 5K, 9 a.m., Bensalem. Contact www.runsignup.com
Jackson’s Heroes 5K, 9 a.m., Warminster Community Park, Warminster. Contact www.runsignup.com