Cross Country Races

Fellow Whippets,

I am reaching out because of a great opportunity for us, as a team, to compete at events different from our traditional road races – cross country!  For those who have run cross country, for those looking to understand cross country a little more and for some training tips on how to train and race cross country, this article will be very useful:

Some of you may have run cross country back in high school and can think back to the fond memories on those road trips to big invitationals – all of you piled in a van or on a bus, chatting the whole way out about everything from your favorite band/ artist while blaring the radio (definitely aging myself on that one…) to school gossip.  During the warm-up, you would all run together on the course, planning your race strategy: how to approach the hill, when to make the big push for home.  On the drive back, you would each tell war stories about who you passed, how that hill sucked, how you outkicked that kid at the end.  And, most importantly, how the team scored.  Finally being able to beat that rival team you have been gunning for all season; placing higher than you did as a team last year.

Some of you may never have heard of – let alone run – cross country before.  And that’s OK!  There is plenty of time to give it a try.  Admittedly, cross country running is different than road running as it can be more challenging than the smooth surface of the road but there is plenty of time to practice.  For longer stretches of off-road running, local options include the bridle path in Central Park, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Cunningham Park in Queens and Latourette and Clove Lakes Parks in Staten Island.  For those you outside the city, other options include your local golf courses, rail trails and state parks.  However, you can simply start by running on some grass fields in your neighborhood park so your feet, ankles and lower legs can become accustomed to running on a different surface.  Even if you have zero interest in running cross country, I suggest running on alternate surfaces.  You’ll be amazed at how much easier the roads feel afterward.

There are two marquee events coming up:

1.  November 8: USATF-New York XC Championships at Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island

  •  SIAC is hosting two races: 5K and 10K. USATF-New York Championship distance is 10K so you must enter the 10K race; not the 5K
  • Competing for the Whippets in this event requires USATF membership declaring “Dashing Whippets” (Club #06-1219) as your team.  USATF yearly membership is $30 and registering for USATF after November 1, 2015 guarantees your membership is good thru 2016

2.  November 15: NYRR XC Championships at Van Cortlandt Park. Event info can be found at

These two races will be included in Ted Corbitt training plan as a way to test your fitness during the plan.  Another great perk of running XC races: the start times. The Staten Island race begins at 10am and the NYRR race begins at 11:30am.

Our teams have dominated on the roads this year.  Let’s show NYC we can dominate off road as well. Hope you will join me in competing in these events. Let us know if you have any questions.

See you at the starting line!

More about Matt

Matt is one of the co-founders of the Dashing Whippets with Rich.

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