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XC BORDER WAR: 9th Annual Battle of the Potomac MD vs. VA vs. WV vs. DC

Nike Miler SInglets will show new colors for the Battle XC combatants

New Nike “Miler” Singlets have been received and will be set with new colors for the 9th running of the “XC Border War”. The Miler singlet is a solid color singlet that will be a much more distinctive team “look” for the 4 teams, West Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. The value of each entry is over $60. The retail value of the singlet ($40) and Chicken dinner ($20) alone is unique to any cross country race all year. Nike’s support allows us to offer the race at a reduced entry fee and to provide a race operation that brings out the best in high school cross country.

Register now at the XC Border War 9 site: - Singlets are limited in sizes and quantity for each state. We cannot guarantee sizes but will accommodate the first 150 girls and 150 boys who sign up to run the 9th Battle of the Potomac XC Championship.

We will announce special features and our honorary starter in the coming weeks. Spread the word and come race the double loop “Border War” course. Who will conquer the hill (twice) and brave the cold waters of the creek crossing (twice)?


The BAA renews a charity partnership with AMAA for 2015; Fundraising minimums set

The euphoria of the 2014 Boston Marathon is fresh in all finishers’ minds. The weather, crowd and the triumphant return to a finish down Boylston St all resonate even today. As the fall leaves turn to shades of red, yellow and orange, the time is here to sign up to race and raise funds for the AMAA Youth Fitness Fund in 2015. AMAA is excited and thankful of the renewal of our program with the BAA to offer limited “invitational charity entries” into the 2015 Boston Marathon. These entries have become the most coveted fundraising marathon entries in the world. There is a responsibility and privilege that comes with each entry. AMAA respects the BAA and the Boston Marathon’s charity program and the balance between the need to raise funds for upwards of 30 Causes and to ensure that as many qualified marathoners get to participate. That is why an invitational entry into the Boston Marathon has such a high value.

AMAA will begin taking registrations and applications to be a Fundraiser Runner on Monday October 27th at Noon EST. The registration process is online via the AMAA website, AMAA is partnered with CROWDRISE for online fundraising and for the full and split price registration options. Details on the Fundraising requirement and pricing options are on the AMAA website. The minimum Fundraising or Fixed price is $5000 plus the BAA fees of $575 (part this fee supports Hopkinton and towns along the Marathon route). AMAA has a fewer slots than in 2014 but still a generous allotment considering the fixed total of invitational entries among the 30,000 marathon race entries.

Go to the AMAA website and request a Fundraising application form or get on the list to register to RUN WITH AMAA and the YOUTH FITNESS FUND. The interest list for BOSTON 2015 can be found at, the icon hyperlink on the AMAA website: In addition, you may email Barbara Baldwin regarding the AMAA RUN BOSTON program for 2015. She can be reached at

CROSS COUNTRY RACING: Aiming to Peak for the Post-Season

A coach’s view as the Races that Matter approach and how to peak runners

The regular season for high school cross country consists of multiple style meets in these days of rosters that can exceed 100 runners of boys and girls. Gone are the days where a coaching staff only had to figure out who was in the top 7 Varsity and who fit the second set of 7 running JV. Many states or regions stopped doing the traditional dual meet in favor of larger Tri or Quad Meets that involve all but the Varsity 7 of each gender. Teams race the mid-week Tri or Quad meets to develop the JV and developmental runners with the hope that several of them will stick with a year-round running program. As the fall cross country schedule approaches the Varsity Post-season, the focus shifts to 7-10 boys and girls who will race in the Conference / District, Regional and State Championships. How do coaches arrive at this juncture and be ready for the post-season?

Finalizing your Post-Season Roster. It is called Championship Season for a reason. Gone are the weekend invitationals where you can improve your hill racing or aim for a new best time on a certain course. Now it is all about putting 5 scorers ahead of your competition and winning a District, Conference, Regional and State Championship. Many coaches carry a few alternate runners form the JV ranks to fill in for someone who may get injured or sick during the 2-3 weeks of post-season racing. These runners have proven all fall that they are just outside the #7 runner’s best times and could step in and contribute on race day. Some coaches opt to bring along a freshman or sophomore who may rank #9 or #10 on the roster. This is done to give them a taste of post-season life. Besides running for the “now”, you have to plan for the “later”.

Workouts to get ready. Now the speed has to be honed. The training to this point may have included some longer tempo or steady runs. With the first post-season championship, you need runners to be able to both withstand a faster first mile pace and to have the ability to change gears or increase tempo in the final 800m. Some speed workouts can take place on a grass course and/or on the track. The idea is to shorten previous intervals and ratchet up the speed and intensity. For example, three weeks ago, the Varsity + the alternates may have done repeat 1000m loops on a rolling grass course. Now with a week to go before that first Championship race, you put the same group through repeat 500s and 300s with an emphasis on changing gears or speeding up in the latter half of each repeat interval

Visualizing the course and race. I cannot overstate the benefit of visualization of racing on a course. One, your athletes have to be familiar with the course either from a prior race or at least doing a tempo workout on the course if permitted. In the immediate days prior to the Championship event, use photos of the course and an overview map (e.g., Google Satellite view) to go review where runners need to be in the race. Talk to the athletes about how they should feel and whom they should see on their team at specific locations or markers on the course. Reinforce the need to stay relaxed but focused on the goal of hitting both a time at certain landmarks and where you stand number-wise in the race at each juncture.

The Finish of a race. This is the final opportunity for a runner to shift the score by anywhere from 3 to 5 points. Passing runners in the last 200m is the goal. Once again, visualize hitting a landmark and driving with your arms, lifting with your quads and trying to kick your butt (with your heel). Many times, runners will rationalize that they have given it their all in the first 90% of the race and they just want to get across the finish line. The opposite advice or counsel to each runner should be to tell them that the finish line is just a mark where racing ends. Each runner has to look up at that finish and not slow down until it is underneath your feet

Staying fresh each week. This is the hard part: building the peak and staying on top of it. We emphasize consistent sleep, meals and workouts. The most important at this stage are the first two elements: Sleep and nutrition or meals. If students stay up too late studying and eat inconsistent meals or eat at odd times, their bodies will not respond on race day.

Seen and Heard while Running

Lightweight cushioned shoes making big comeback. First it was Skechers and the former “Mall-walking” shoes that were transformed into a real running shoe. Now it is the HOKE ONE-ONE (OH-nay, OH-nay) that is turning heads on the running trails and roads. Maybe it is the age group that I represent. My anecdotal evidence is a bunch of former high school and college runners from the 70s who are either worn out after 30-40 years of running or simply want a lighter well-cushioned shoe to combat sore hips, feet or knees. This new lightweight cushioning on thick pad seems to run counter to the minimalist shoes that were the hot trend a year ago. Now you have shoes that tend to add shock absorption while providing what appears to be a soft “ride”. Let’s see in 6 months if there is a new crop of injuries due to runners shifting to this new well-cushioned shoe.

Love the Fall Season – take in the Autumn Beauty on a Run!

The American Running Association Staff

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