The big race day is an emotional roller coaster. As one fine, two time Olympian reminded me today, " the race tomorrow is part of your life, it does not define it." However, do your best, give it your all and see how it goes. Your coach, family, friends and team mates will love you no matter what. Good luck!

Tully_NicoleR-USAout15.jpgNicole Tully, photo by

Saturday, December 10, 2016: Race day. Warm up, listen to your coach, race, cool down

Cross country was my introduction to our sport. In Septembe 1972, I ran my first cross country race. The site was DeSmet Jesuit High School, and the distance was two miles. I believed that I stopped several times in the race, finishing somewhere south of 18 minutes, but north of 17 minutes. I lost one of my sneakers, purchased at KMart for $3.00, in the final 100 meters, which were run across a soccer pitch.

Forsyth_AnneFHH-FLmw16.jpgAnne Forsyth, FLMidwest2016, photo by

I fell in love with the sport immediately. It took me seven more years before I won my first cross country race, but, I was hooked.

Each season, I end my athletic year with NXN and the FootLocker cross country. Both races are so different, but so important for our sport.

Let me explain...

LondonSteepleQ-OlyGame12.jpgLondon 2012, photo by

RunBlogRun opines: Over a year ago, Vern Gambetta, one of the finest atheltic coaches and trainers of any generation, noted on twitter, that any athlete who is banned in 2015 should not be able to compete until after 2020. The McLaren report, a brave report, tells the sordid story that many of us worried was happening, but puts it into black and white. The Russian system in place for sports has not changed since the cold war. The late Emil Zatopek, in 1991-92 told me that Vladimir Kuts suspected he was given supplements or products that were not legal or good for him. He shared it with his friend, Emil and Emil did not dispute the fact 25 years later.

The Russian response for the past year has been full of bravado. It is quite clear, unless Russian sports fundementally changes, they will not be part of the global sports community. Unfortunately, Thomas Bach has been late to this game, as he has tried to appease Mr. Putin. FSB involement, not much of a surprise, has put Russian sports into disrepute. As one of my dear friends, a Russian coach of some four decades told me, " coaches have become lazy, fast results are key." Truth is, Russian coaching has been some of best in world, but the drug use comprimises and many think that drug make the athlete better. It is an insult to the long term coaches and programs.

Maurice Greene loves to talk track. The thing is, the scary thing is, Maurice is almost alway right. But, don't tell him that. Lets' keep it between you and me, okay?

This is one of our podcasts from Rio. Maurice Greene was amazing. He and his wife had to come halfway across Rio to meet with us and he just kept his patience. I have to admit, he was a favorite athlete (along with Donovan Bailey, who I always had time for), because Maurice understood and still does, that for our sport to grow, it has to be entertainment!

Greene_Mo1-IAAF13.jpgMaurice Greene, photo by

Here is a fun podcast. I asked Maurice to speak on how he would advise young athletes. Some big thoughts and much to ponder.

Special thanks to Maurice Greene. Special thanks to my brother, Brian, who filmed the videos, and special thanks to The Shoe Addicts who make me look good. Final thanks to Spencer Nels, of adidas, who realizes how important Maurice Greene is to our sport and supported our vision on the MO and Larry show.

The first ten to twelve days of December are my busiest of the year. They are also some of my favorite events. From The Running Event, a trade show for core running, to the USATF Convention, to the NIke NXN, to the American Sports Builders, to the FootLocker Nationals, it is a busy first two weeks of the month. This story is about the NIke NXN.

IMG_6931.JPGManlius, post race, just before they get their first place trophy! photo by Larry Eder

IMG_6971.JPGBozeman, American Fork, Temecula, before the announcements, photo by Larry Eder

I love the NXN because it features a wonderful affirmation of the team aspect of cross country. I love the FootLocker because it features the individual affirmation of the same sport. The events co-exist, at least in my mind, and provide the top young runners in our country will championships that have meaning for each group.

Here's my piece on the 2016 NXN. And this year, the weather was perfect, as was the mud!

Hull_TalonFH-FLwest16.JPGTalon Hull, photo by

Lane_ClaudiaFHH-FLwest16.JPGClaudia Lane, photo by

The West Regional of the FootLocker is the final regional in the FootLocker food chain. It is a brutal regional, with tough competition. And, yet, even with only a week from Nationals, West athletes tend to do quite well. Always a conundrum.

Mareno_NevadaLeds-FLsouth16.jpGNevada Mareno, Girls' winner, South FL Champs, photo by

Worley_Sam-FLsouth16.jpGSamuel Worley, Boys' Champ, South FL Regional, photo by

The South Regional was run with clear skies, windy weather and 53 degrees for the 38th annual FootLocker regional championships. Updated December 9, 2016.

Van Cortlandt Park was the site of the 38th annual FootLocker cross country regional, the most enduring high school championship series in high school sports. With clear skies and modest temperatures (50 degrees), the racers challenged the famous course in Van Cortlandt Park. We highlight the top ten boys and girls below!

Updated December 9, 2016!

Affolder_Noah1-FLne16.JPGNoah Affolder, Boy's Championship race winner, Northeast, photo by

Aldridge_AlyssaFHH-FLne16.JPGAlyssa Aldridge, Girl's Championship winner, photo by

The UW-Parkside is the host of the FootLocker regional cross country championships. In its 38th year, with cloudy skies and a temperature of 36 degrees, the best cross country runners in the Midwest batted for one of the top ten positions in the seeded races at the FootLocker Champs.

Updated December 8, 2016 for the 2016 FootLocker Cross Country Nationals!

Forsyth_Anne1a-FLmw16.jpgAnne Forsyth, Girls' Midwest Champ, photo by

Jacobs_Dylan-FLmw16.jpgDylan Jacobs, Boys' Champion, Midwest FootLocker, photo by

The Friday before a big race is fraught with emotions. An easy run helps you relax. Get a good night sleep, read a book, or watch some Netflix, but sleep well.

Tully_Nicole-PreC16.jpgNicole Tully, photo by

Friday, December 9, : Warm up; 4-mile run; 4x150 yds relaxed strideouts on grass, jogging back to the start after each, no rest between; cool down. Focus on the race.

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