2016 USATF Cross Country, Tallahassee, Florida, photo by Justin Britton
All we heard is good things about Tallahassee and its cross country course. Nice to see a city with the forethought to build such a complex build on its success. If you do it right, the events will come, I have been told.
Apalachee Regional Park Adds More Major Cross Country Championship Events
Schedule includes four national championships:
NCAA 2021, USATF 2019, USATF 2018, USATF JO 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Leon County’s award-winning Apalachee Regional Park will host eight major cross country events, including four national championships, in the next five years.
These events include the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Cross Country State Championships (2017 & 2018); USA Track & Field (USATF) Cross Country National Championships (2017, 2018 & 2019); the NCAA Men & Women’s Cross Country Regionals (2018 & 2020) and the NCAA Cross Country National Championship (2021).
“Making Apalachee Regional Park a national sports destination was the goal when Leon County initiated improvements at the park in 2009,” said Leon County Commission Chairman John Dailey. “We achieved that goal much sooner than most expected, plus these events attract visitors from all over the country and bring significant economic benefits to the County.”
The facility hosted three national championships last year – one by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and two for the USATF.
In 2021, the NCAA Cross Country National Championship comes to Florida for the first time in its 79-year history. FSU will serves as the host institution for the meet scheduled for Nov. 20. It is the first NCAA national championship event held here since the women’s tennis event in 1996.
The NCAA Men & Women’s Cross Country South Regional Championships, returning to Tallahassee in 2018 and 2020, are qualifying events for the NCAA National Championship meet. Apalachee Regional Park held an NCAA Regional Championship meet last fall.
Apalachee Regional Park has hosted the last five FHSAA state championships and this year’s event is scheduled for Nov. 11. The 2016 meet brought more than 1,400 runners competing in four divisions.
The USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships is scheduled for Dec. 9, 2017, attracting runners age 7-18.
In 2018 and 2019, USATF will bring its Cross Country National Championships here. These races are qualifying events for the Team USA World Championships and attract many of the top distance runners in the country.
“Apalachee Regional Park is a great example of a shared vision and partnership between Leon County, FSU Athletics and Gulf Winds Track Club,” said County Administrator Vince S. Long. “The result was a facility enjoyed by residents and visitors that has achieved national acclaim as one of the finest of its type in the country.”
The Florida State University Cross Country Invitational opens the 2017 season at the park. University and college teams from throughout the Southeast will compete on Oct. 6 and the high school Pre-State Meet is set for Oct. 6-7. The pre-state meet gives high school teams a preview of the course prior to the state championship on Nov. 11.
Local tourism officials cite the benefits of the events to area hotels, restaurants, attractions and retailers.
“We continue seeing tremendous growth in the economic impact and visibility that cross country events bring to the county,” Leon County Division of Tourism Development (Visit Tallahassee) Director of Sports Brian Hickey said. “We held 10 meet at Apalachee Regional Park last fall and these events attracted more than 20,000 visitors and $8.4 million in direct spending in Leon County.”
Upcoming Cross Country Meets at ARP:
FSU Cross Country Invitational: Oct. 6
FSU Cross Country Pre-State Meet: Oct. 6-7
FHSAA State Championships: Nov. 11
USATF Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships: Dec. 9
USATF Cross Country National Championships: Feb. 3
NCAA Men & Women’s Cross Country Regionals: Nov. 9
USATF Cross Country National Championships: Feb. 2
NCAA Men & Women’s Cross Country Regionals: Nov. 13
NCAA Cross Country National Championship: Nov. 20
For more information about Apalachee Regional Park, visit the Sports Tourism section of VisitTallahassee.com.
About Leon County Division of Tourism Development (Visit Tallahassee):
The Division promotes tourism through direct sales, advertising, public relations, sports, film and visitor services. It is funded by taxes authorized by state statute (FS 125.104) and generated from local hotels and short-term lodging facilities. For more information, go to VisitTallahassee.com or call toll-free (800) 628-2688.
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