Nike Cross Nationals will enter its tenth year this fall. In that time it has built a tremendous reputation for bringing together top team and individual talent from around the country. Through it all Nike makes no excuses about hosting a true European style cross country race on a multiple loop course of varied terrain including mud and man-made obsticles. Set inside a horse track, Portland Meadows allows 3,000 spectators a continuous view of the course from the grandstands.
However, Mother Nature proved she still holds the ultimate upper hand leading up to last December's race, dropping an additional 2.6 inches of rain that pooled into the cross country course. This created a course that arguably crossed the line from challenging to downright sloppy. While challenge races are soaring in popularity, many people found was no longer suitable for elite level cross country racing. Many top competitors fell far off their expected place and pace, and the ultimate winners of the national championship were a good two minutes off the expected pace on a "normal" cross country course.
"We don't want to put our competitors out into a giant puddle this year," Nike said today in an emailed release, "so we are taking every precaution possible to create the best race experience."
So what changes can we expect in the 2013 tenth anniversary race?
- Added course maintenance throughout the year for better irrigation and preparation.
- Adjustments to the race course and man-made obsticles to avoid problem areas that were identified last yar.
- Extra staff to manage the course and conditions.
- Added water pumps to manage unpredictable rainfall.
- Community race will be moved to the end of the schedule in order to promote better conditions for the championship races.
The meet will be held on December 7, 2013 at Portland Meadows in Portland, Oregon. The Girls Championship race will begin at 10:05 AM (Pacific Time), followed by the Boys Championship race at 11:35 AM.
Competitors must qualify through one of eight regional races with the top two teams and top five individuals (not on a qualifying team) auto-qualifying. In addition to the auto-qualifying teams, four at-large team bids being issued nationally to selected teams who finished third or fourth in their respective regional race. The regional races will be: