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  • Writer's pictureBetsy

Cross-country season is here! (With some expected changes)

The slight briskness in the air this week in North Central Florida and elsewhere across the U.S. immediately brings to mind thoughts of cross-country (at least for this running obsessed fan).

Last Friday at the Mark Bostick Golf Course at the University of Florida, the 14th annual Mt Dew Cross-Country invitational took place. It was so great seeing teams and individuals out competing and spectators cheering them on.

This year things obviously looked very different: masks were worn at nearly all times except for the race itself, runners lined up with several feet of space between teams, and only 4 teams (UF, FSU, Miami, Georgia Tech) participated in the event (dozens of teams normally show up for this meet, although the invite has steadily shrunk in size over the past 3 years due to non-COVID reasons).

If you have never experienced a cross-country meet, I highly recommend attending one. The beauty of the sport lies in its dual focus: it is both a team and an individual sport. Each runner has the opportunity to score for the team, compete against fellow runners, and also earns his/her/their individual place and time. Combine this with the natural beauty of the setting of the sport (most cross-country races are run on golf courses, state parks, or a combination of fields and trails) and you have an event that is a feast for the senses.

The trickiest part about spectating a cross-country meet may be perhaps understanding the scoring and tallying team points as runners file into the finish chute.

Here are the scoring basics:

*lowest team score wins (kind of like golf)

*each run earns a finish place that corresponds to their earned points. For instance, the winner of a xc race earns one point, second place earns two points, the fifth place finisher earns five points, the 144th person to cross the line earns 144 points, etc.

*typically, a cross-country team consists of 7 runners in a championship race (more can usually line up in non-championship race, but this is usually up to the race director) and the top 5 score. The 6th and 7th serve as tie breakers or displacers.

*Middle school xc courses in the U.S. are usually approximately 3k long, high schoolers typically run 5k, college women run 5k or 6k, and college men run 8k or 10k.

*NCAA XC Nationals has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19, however, here is the full replay of the races from November of last year in Terre Haute, IN. I am always inspired by these tough and talented athletes:

If those races and this beautiful weather inspires you to head out for a run (or walk), message me and we can get you set up with some amazing shoes to make your run more enjoyable and to help you #runyourday!

Stay well,


Some throwbacks from 2013 and '14(?) when I raced Mt. Dew with the UF Running Club and unattached.

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