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In 2015, This Is Water
Global water shortages, drought and rationing have not deterred or slowed down the explosive growth of premium “original source” bottled water.

The real value of a real education [is] awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: "This is water." - David Foster Wallace, This Is Water, Kenyon College Commencement Speech.

This may shock young readers, but when I was a child, drinking water was available with the turn of a knob. Paying for bottled water would have seemed like paying for air today.

But there were indications of what was to come. I remember keeping an old glass bottle filled with tap water in the refrigerator, because it tasted better. Actually, it probably didn’t taste like much at all. It tasted colder.

These days, the public seems increasingly to have decided: bottled water is what they want. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, water will outsell soda by 2017. Per capita bottled water consumption has more than doubled in the last fifteen years (while soda has dropped twenty-five percent).

In an interesting poll result, 29% of bottled water drinkers said that not having the water always available makes them “feel strange.”

All sorts of new products have crashed the water market, from standbys like mineral water and coconut water to the more esoteric – “birch water, maple water and cactus water,” according to the Journal.

Although the biggest sellers in the U.S. are from big beverage companies – Dasani (Coke), Aquafina (PepsiCo) and Nestle top the list – exotic location-based waters are also popular, with Fiji water cracking the top ten.

I recently had a chance to try 1907 Water, an artesian water from New Zealand advertised as “naturally high alkaline.” It has a very subtle, soft taste, just enough “flavor” to avoid the odd tastelessness that I associate with distilled water.

I wouldn’t want to bet money that I could tell the difference between filtered water, spring water and artesian water in a blind tasting – even my childhood chilled tap water might come out on top. But even if the only reason we drink water is because it’s from Fiji or New Zealand, there is still an undeniable appeal. Imagine what some company will get for bottled Martian water, if they can figure out how to get it back to earth.

Battle of the Potomac XC Championships turns 10 – Introducing the collage of greatest hit photos over the past 9 years for our 2015 Collectors Poster

The first meeting of the “best” of Maryland and Virginia cross country boys and girls came to life in a race of 115 runners at Smokey Glen Farm in November 2006. Each team had their state identifying singlet, Maryland in Red and Virginia in Navy Blue. It was a rustic double loop cross country course with not too many frills. Yet the race quickly gained a nick-name (XC BORDER WAR) and known as the race where you raced than bee-lined it to the pavilion to eat a hot smoked barbecue chicken dinner.

The 2015 XC BORDER WAR 10 will celebrate the evolution and elements that make up what is now a 4 state “cross country battle”. Only the District of Columbia has not seen an individual winner in the signature seeded Battle of the Potomac XC Championship races. Last year one girl came close as Page Lester was the seeded girls runner-up. West Virginia has produced two notable boys winners. Maryland and Virginia have seen a split of individual champions. The history is rich and the memories endure

Our 2015 Poster debuts today. We chose to bring those memories of the past 9 years to a collage poster that shows the best of what the Battle of the Potomac has become. More will be revealed in coming weeks on the website ( including our Top 10 All-Time XC BORDER WAR competititors for each gender.

Registration for the 2015 10th XC BORDER WAR will begin on or after September 12th via the site

Show your state pride, especially the runners from the Commonwealth of Virginia. Let’s have a memorable “XC Battle” with strong participation.

–The XC BORDER WAR 10 Staff & Founders

Cross Country (XC, X-Country or CC) is to me the most pure of running competition. Line up a field of runners, mark a course that runs across hills, streams, fields and paths. Don’t get too hung up on the exact distance, as there is no true way to equate one course in one environment from the next X-Country course or venue, I still roll my eyes when I hear some coaches and athletes obsession with running one or two particular well-know cross country courses to get that “PR”. In the purest definition of cross country racing, it’s all about getting to the finish line first. Time is irrelevant. There are courses in the U.S. that are known for a signature physical element. “Parachute Hill” on Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia, the “Dip” at the the site of the Maryland State XC Meet, Cemetery Hill in Franklin Park in Boston, MA.

More on water and hydration. Water shortages will start to affect road races. We take many things for granted when it comes to amenities at running events. Some day, we are going to have to accept fewer water stops and either wear your own hydration system or just adjust pacing to weather and conditions

Enjoy the runs that welcome fall

–The American Running Staff

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