Minuteman CrossCountry 0

Don't Change the LHS XC Course

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After decades of continuity, the Lexington home cross country course is slated to be extended from 2.85 miles to a full 5000 meters. The extension is inconvenient, potentially dangerous, and needlessly erases a connection to history. We urge you to consider our rationale and join us in asking the coaching staff and the athletic department to keep the course the way it is.

Since the 1970s, the Lexington boys and girls cross country teams have run their races on the same 2.85 mile loop. The course starts on the softball field and finishes where the asphalt path through Lincoln field runs next to the softball backstop. The distance is not standard but it works because it fits within the confines of the existing athletic complex.

It is a course that is equally beloved for the triumphs it has witnessed and hated for the pain it invokes (namely, Loring). Most importantly, it is a piece of Lexington running history. Generations of athletes can compare themselves to those who came before and see how their team stacks up against past ones.

Now, as the lines are to be re-painted for the 2014 season, it has been decided that the course will become a full 5000 meters in the name of standardization. Not only will this abolish the comparisons and connection between past and future, it will make for an unwieldy extension that will impede the finish of the race.

In the past, runners turned off of Worthen Road and onto the Lincoln field path, went over two little bumps and then sprinted amidst cheering fans down a long straightaway to the finish. Now, they will follow that same path, but after the long straightaway, in full sprint, they will negotiate a slippery 90 degree corner on gravel. Then they will continue for several hundred yards over a crushed stone path that leads to the obscure, far corner of Lincoln field where they will finish.

Less glamorous, more dangerous, and inconvenient for fans and runners alike.

Quite simply, there is no reason to change the course. It has historical significance to the team, it is convenient, and it works. It’s a slow course (see Loring), and Lexington varsity athletes rarely run all-out in dual meets, so there would be very little opportunity to run a 5k PR at home. In any case, there are no individual time standards in cross country and there are faster, bigger invitationals where runners already have the opportunity to run the full 5k.

A change in the length of the course serves no useful purpose. What it does do is make the race more difficult and potentially dangerous for runners, impede everybody’s finishing kick, and sever a connection to history.

By signing this petition, you voice your desire to keep the Lexington Cross Country course the way it has been run for decades, and not extend it to the full 5000 meters.

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