Cross country is starting back up again soon for high schools, colleges, and … you? Maybe, if you’re willing to try out an intense but fun race in a supportive environment. The Red Lizard Running Club is once again hosting the Stumptown Cross Country Series and you’re invited! (Note – if you’re not up for racing, why not volunteer? You can get in a good run before the race starts and support the local running community at the same time.)
Saturday, September 24 @ Portland Meadows. Race start 8a, distance: 5k.
Sunday, October 2 @ Fernhill Park. Women run their 5k first at 9a and men run their 5k at 9:30a.
Saturday, October 22 @ Gabriel Park. Both men and women run 4 miles; women start at 9a and men at 9:45a.
Saturday, November 5 @ Pier Park. The women’s 6k starts at 9a and the men’s 8k starts at 9:45a. This is the USATF Oregon State XC Championship race.
Saturday, November 19 @ Fernhill Park. Women will run a 6k starting at 9a and men will run a 10k starting at 9:45a
You can register online for any race individually; they are all $15 with the exception of Race #3 at Gabriel Park, which is $20. You can sign up for the entire series for only $50; add the TRL individual membership for just $20 more (that’s a steal, since TRL members get amazing discounts at local running stores like Foot Traffic).
Now, if you’re not a competitive runner, you can run XC in your regular shoes. Most participants prefer to wear a high-traction trail shoe; or if you’re a more technical runner you will find that spikes are helpful.
And if you’d rather just watch, bring a blanket (maybe a tarp to put down first), a thermos of hot chocolate, and a cowbell to the park and get ready for a fun spectator experience. Once the race starts, it’s usually pretty easy to criss-cross the park to see participants at multiple places on the course, so if that’s your plan, travel light and wear your own trail shoes. Check out a start from the 2015 Stumptown series here.
There are a number of highly competitive teams that participate in the series, including teams from Portland Running Company, the Bowerman Track Club, the Jacuzzi Boys, and my husband’s team, NAC. They’re fighting for their own team during the race, but after crossing the finish line they cheer across team lines. It’s a great environment and a wonderful way to introduce your kids to team running and good sportsmanship.