Mission Bay to Host Feb US XC Champs

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Mission Bay is a historic place in running history. In the old days, RW used to publish a photo annual and there were several pages devoted to the 1971 AAU race, where Frank Shorter won his third consecutive title at cross country that year, on his way to Fukuoka, to win his first title of four at Fukuoka.

Thom Hunt and Paul Greer are co directing this event. It is the qualifier for the World Cross Country Championships team and should bring some real players out of the woodwork. You know, someone shows up in an Olympic year. Athletes who are at the end of their careers and also some big surprises.

Having it in a warm place when the rest of the continent is under an Ice Age threat is pretty smart. Best wishes to Thom and Paul on their event. Watch for coverage from American Track & Field magazine!

Contact: Thom Hunt - 858.279.1216 - thunt@sdccd.edu

Olympic Preview Set for San Diego at February’s USA Cross Country Championships

SAN DIEGO, California, Feb. 5, 2008 –San Diego will get a preview of the 2008 Beijing Olympics as it hosts its first USA Cross Country Championships since 1971, when the top long distance runners in America square off at Mission Bay Park on February 16.

Past and future Olympians will be on the starting line, marking the first time San Diego has hosted the national championship since Frank Shorter tuned up for a run into Olympic Marathon history at the 1972 Munich Olympics by winning his third consecutive national cross country title here in 1971.

The 2008 USA Cross Country Championships are scheduled on a grassy, spectator-friendly, two-kilometer loop at Mission Bay Park. A series of seven races is planned, culminating with the 8K Open Women’s Championship, followed by the 12K Open Men’s Championship.

"We are very much looking forward to hosting the 2008 USA Cross Country Championships,” said sub-four-minute miler Paul Greer, who, along with former American indoor high school mile record holder, and 1977 IAAF world junior cross country champion Thom Hunt, is the co-meet director.

“This meet also serves as the trials for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships scheduled to be held in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 30th,” said Greer. “San Diego is used to hosting big events, including the Carlsbad 5000 and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but we do understand this meet carries greater magnitude and importance for every athlete, coach and spectator who plan on attending in 2008. Hosting these Championships is truly an honor and privilege."

Athletes who qualify in the Junior Women’s, Junior Men’s, Senior Women’s and Senior Men’s races at San Diego are eligible to compete at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Scotland on March 30. That alone would attract a top-flight field to San Diego. However, the chance to win a national title in an Olympic year is helping attract a stellar field, said Hunt.

“We will be releasing names of our committed runners in the coming weeks,” said Hunt. “For now, we’re thrilled to have what is shaping up as the cream of America’s promising women’s and men’s distance running corps coming to Mission Bay.”

Included in the field may well be some of the top high school runners in the country, many of whom competed in San Diego in December’s Foot Locker National Cross Country Championship. They will run in the 6K Junior Women’s and 8K Junior Men’s races.

The day of racing will begin with the Road Runner Sports Community 4K at 9 a.m., which is open to the public. The rest of the schedule is:

9:45 a.m. Masters Women's 8 km
10:45 Masters Men's 8 km
11:45 Junior Women's 6 km
12:30 p.m. Junior Men's 8 km
1:15 Open Women's 8 km
2:00 Open Men's 12 km

More information is available online at www.usatf.org/events/2008/USAXCChampionships, or by contacting Greer (paul@hipstars.com) or Hunt (thunt@sdccd.edu). A course map follows.

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