If you thought last year’s Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships East Regional Meet at Tyler State Park was exciting, wait until you see this year’s return event.
Meet directors Michael Gross and Tim Bamforth are expecting more than 1,000 runners.
Now that promises to be a meet with a lot of energy.
The date is Sunday, Nov. 3 and kids – ages 5 to 18 — from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Maryland – are scheduled to compete.
Gross, who works with the Ambler Olympic Club, and Bamforth, a veteran race director from the The Seashore Striders in Delaware, have joined forces to put on a first-class event.
Teams from as far away as the Nittany Valley Track Club in State College will be running.
The growth of the CCCNYC reflects the recent running boom in the United States, according to Gross, a former XC coach at Council Rock South High School.
“We see with youth running, it’s following the trend of growth in running in total,’’ Gross said. “It’s taking that running boom and applying it to youth sports. It’s competitive but it’s really a sport that allows youth runners of almost any ability and age to compete, to improve and get better.
“We’ll have kids as young as 5 participating in this, all the way up to 18. It really does give kids a chance to participate in sports that’s healthy, safe. What separates cross-country from track, it’s still a team sport. It’s something that I think gets lost when kids just do road races. This allows them to participate on a team, work with others in a team concept and still run.’’
Both of Michael’s sons are excellent runners. Josh, 15, competes for CR South. At the meet, he will heading up a group of CR South runners who will volunteer and serve as course marshals.
Aaron Gross, who finished second in last year’s 11-12 race, will be returning to compete in the 13-14 race this season.
Mike and Tim have made improvements to the race courses, which range in distance from 1K to 5K. Both Josh and Aaron helped re-design the 2K and 4K courses.
“We’ve eliminated some of the out-and-back, so the courses should be more enjoyable for the runners,’’ Gross said. “It’s equally challenging for the kids.’’
Bamforth’s input should be helpful.
“He’s worked the details behind the scenes,’’ Gross said. “We have the full support of the Seashore Striders. Along with my building the courses, it’s that combination of skill sets that I think will make the races really good this year.
“The cross country coaches championship has become the largest national championship for youth runners. In the East, the big meets used to be USATF and AAU. They basically don’t have meets of any size in this area anymore.’’
This meet started 20 years ago and continues to grow.
“The CCC was a group of cross country coaches who got together and weren’t happy with the bureaucracy and expense of some of these other meets,’’ Gross said.
“They put together a meet that’s more focused on the kids. It’s affordable and quite frankly it (the national championships) has become the largest youth meet in the country.’’
There are 11 races planned at Tyler.
For more information, visit:
Run for the Heart 5K, 9 a.m., Warrington. Contact www.runsignup.com