Saturday, December 6, 2008

America's Best XC race

If anyone ever doubted Nike's commitment to helping develop running all they had to do was attend today's Nike Cross National meet here in Portland today. I will probably never see a better meet in my life again. Great organization, great energy, great location and on a perfect day for XC.

Comments like "it's better than the NCAA meet" were abundant by those who have seen meets around the country. The attention to detail was mind- boggling. Huge video boards showed the race from start to finish. Constant team scores and individual places were on another video board. Coaches were even given Palm Pilots that also transmitted team scores to them anywhere on the course.

Some of us estimated that transporting athletes and coaches and housing had to cost at least $500,000. Setting up the course with man-made hills, team tents for each team, and shoes, spikes, uniforms/warmups for each participant was another huge expense. Then paying for the transportation for 3 days and the huge number of workers had to bring the final total to about 2 million dollars. Entry fees for teams - $0, admission for spectators - $0.

We gave Alan Webb a ride back to town after the races and he said this event was far superior to his days at Footlocker national finals. We all remarked that it will be very interesting to see the results this event will yield in a few years when these athletes come through college and as more teams are fighting to get to the meet. It can only raise the level of performance and bring more runners to the sport. The payoff for Nike and everyone associated with running will be enhanced.

Great eight mile run today with Chris Farley along the Willamette River. Perfect day for running and is the first time I've got three days in a row since late October. I was inspired by Keith Kelly's post yesterday and his brush with running nirvana. I continue to run for that sweet spot when everything falls into place and the entire process feels perfect. It takes time and work to reach it, but when it converges all the work becomes worth it. Thanks Keith for reminding me why I continue to push myself.

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