The Weekend of Cross Country

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This weekend is the NCAA Division 2, 3, NAIA cross country championships. And on Monday, in Terra Haute, the NCAA Division one championships. I will be heading out for one of my favorite events this weekend, the Nike Border Clash....

The Nike Border Clash is getting close to the decade barrier. The brainchild of Josh Rowe and John Truax, two Nike employees who were and are, serious running geeks, the event pits the top 40 boys and girls, high school age harriers, from Washington and Oregon.

The event is one of the most creative events I have ever witnessed. From the precision drum team to the cannon that starts the race, the runners run at each other for fifty meters then make a harsh turn to enter the campus. The course is 4 kilometers and, depending on the day, can be a fast or slow course.

The big thing is, the kids love it. In speaking to the young runners afterwards, it is the highlight of their years. The winning team gets boasting rights of Nike, goddess of Victory to be kept in the local NIketown in Seattle or Portland.

The reason I go each year? I like to see the enthusiasm, catch up with friends and guage the support Nike corporate has for the sport of running. At a sixteen billion dollar company, running is one of many ways Nike makes money, and there has been rumbles of Nike's interest in the sport. Events such as this, and Nike Team Nationals, and Nike Indoor and Outdoor should make some wonder, as the quality of these events and the benefits it gives the kids are timeless.

This year, like other years, Nike brings in some of their top athletes. Matt Tegankamp and Lauren Fleshman will be among the athletes who attend this year. It is fun for them as well as they cheer on their teams (they are assigned to root for Washington or Oregon).

The spirit of Bowerman and Prefontaine live on in this event. It is good for the sport, it is good for Nike employees to see the purity of cross country, and in the end, it is just good old fun!

For more on cross country, please check: www.american-trackandfield.com

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