Friday, September 25, 2009

Cross Country Season in Full Swing

Fall is cross country season and middle school, high school and college cross country programs all over the state of Georgia are getting ready to enter (for some) the third month of competition. Some schools had their first meets at the end of August!

High school competition in Georgia runs until the first weekend in November, when the GHSA State Championships take place in Carrollton on Nov. 7 and there are meets every week until then, ranging from two-school duals to multi-team, multi-race events like The Mill Run Invitational taking place in Douglas County this weekend (Sept. 26). Thirty-six teams and over 1500 runners are scheduled to run in eight races (including the middle school races).

If you are a runner or just like to see good, clean, spirited competition, you should check out your local school's cross country schedule and attend one of their events. They would appreciate the support. And they would appreciate even more if you offered your help at some of the meets (meet directors hardly ever refuse volunteers!). And who knows... you may see a future Olympian or two!

You can find out more about Georgia high school cross country at Here you can check out a comprehensive schedule of meets, view team rosters, even read what runners, coaches and fans have to say on their bulletin board. If college cross country is more appealing to you, visit the college's athletic website and find out what's going on with your favorite team.

And if you are tired of pounding the pavement and want to find some trail races for yourself, check out the Race Calendar at There are several trail races of varying lengths offered during the year.

Happy trails to you!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Getting Hooked

It does not seem that long ago when I used to train for the Peachtree Road Race each year and then take the rest of the year off. Then, by accident at a local race, I placed in my age group. I will never forget the day I walked by the posted results and saw my name and later went up to the stage to collect my "hardware" as the more experienced runners called it. I was hooked. I began training for the next race, then the next distance. With each achievement, I learned that I could do it.

It is great running into a fellow runner, especially this time of year because you run into many first timers training for their first half marathon or marathon. There is an energy in the air because, as the weather gets cooler, and many runners are doing longer runs, and some are running distances that they have never run before. It is so exciting trying to describe to a first timer what it will feel like to reach the finish line when you never thought you could run that distance.

There are many different ways that runners get "hooked". The hardware is one, or a new race, distance or event, or the Run and See Georgia Grand Prix. When runners realize that by placing in the top twenty in their age group when they run a Run and See Georgia Grand Prix Race they get points. The points accumulate throughout the year and at the end of the year, the top twenty in each of 28 age groups awards, in addition to the top overall male and female point earner. You can always spot a serious Grand Prix competitor when they ask fellow runners their age or watch on turnaround race courses for others in their age group. Even if you are not competitive, it makes it a fun and a great way to meet other runners.

So, however you became "hooked" on running and forever long, I hope you find a new way to experience the joy of running this season.