AUG 2015 - RUNNING & WALKING
USATF Masters Championships
Coming to Saratoga Springs
By Pat Glover
On Sunday, October 18 some of the best “Masters” runners (men and women 40 and over) in the country will be competing in the 2015 USA Track & Field Masters 5K Cross Country Championships, to be held at the Saratoga Spa State Park. The event is part of the Saratoga Cross Country Classic, which for 2015 has been awarded the National Masters 5K XC Championship. Over $5,000 in individual and team prize money, along with four Telescope Casual director chairs will be awarded in the Masters competition.
An age grading system will be used for individual prize money, which means that all athletes will be competing on a level playing field through a handicap system regardless of their age. Team competition goes three deep in 10-year age groups from 40-plus through 80-plus. This is a perfect opportunity for local and regional athletes to compete with runners from all over the country. USATF membership is required for this event and can be obtained at usatfadir.org.
Beyond the Masters competition, this is truly a family day for all ages and abilities. Other events include: USATF Adirondack 5K Race Walk Road Championship, Kids’ 2K/3K Development Cross Country Runs that are open to all children, an Open 5K XC race (open to all runners and walkers), along with the USATF Adirondack 5K XC Championship.
In addition to the regular race and USATF awards, $100 each will be awarded to the USATF Adirondack registered men’s and women’s teams with the greatest number of athletes who complete either the Saratoga XC Classic 5K or the USATF Masters 5K XC Championship. Special awards will be given to any runners who also complete The Great Pumpkin Challenge 5K/10K on October 17 in Saratoga Springs, and the Saratoga XC Classic 5K or USATF Masters 5K Championship.
These events are being run on the historic and iconic Saratoga Spa State Park cross country course, which has been the site of many local and regional races over the years. It is also a chance for road racers to transfer some of their training to softer surfaces, venturing through the woods and open trails over this beautifully manicured course. For the uninitiated and anyone who might be put off by the term “cross country,” the venue is a mixture of grass, crushed stone, and wide dirt paths on both flat and hilly terrain. It is truly runner friendly!
For those wishing to preview the course, Fleet Feet Sports will be conducting two free training sessions, on Wednesday, October 7 at 6pm and on Saturday, October 10 at 8am. These are open to all ages and abilities. Meeting location for both dates is the parking lot of The Gideon Putnam resort in the park. For complete event information and registration, go to saratogaxcclassic.com.
Pat Glover (email@example.com) is a veteran Masters runner who has coached at the college level and taught adult running classes. He is currently a track and field official, vice president of long-distance running and cross-country for USATF Adirondack, and a member of HMRRC.