Thursday, August 7, 2014
Cross country athletes from three area high schools joined forces last week for a midnight run.
Friday marked the first day state officials allow high school cross country teams to hold an practice for the 2014-15 school year so members of the Pinewood Prep, Summerville and Ashley Ridge teams met in the Newington neighborhood late Thursday night and anxiously counted down to midnight. At 12:01 a.m., runners took off for a three-hour, 20-plus mile relay race.
“Coaches aren’t allowed to work with their team until Aug. 1 but naturally our runners train on their own throughout the summer,” Pinewood Prep coach Kelly Hazel said. “This summer some of our runners trained with runners from other schools and that led to the idea of doing something to celebrate the day we open practice.”
For the race, the runners were split into four teams of four: The Divas, The Squatches (as in Sasquatch or Big Foot), The Hobbits and The Avengers. A fifth team dubbed The Expendables, comprised of runners who have graduated from the three high schools, also participated.
Members of the Expendables helped with supervision for the event and each team was assigned a bike escort for safety.
With some carrying glow sticks and others wearing a headband lamp, the runners competed to see which team could combine for the most laps around the 1.5 mile loop throughout the neighborhood. The prize for the winning team was a free breakfast at Waffle House.
When the clock struck 3, The Avengers had run 24 miles during the relay to win the free breakfast.
“The alumni, all of whom are still training for various teams, actually ran the most miles,” Hazel quipped. “But they’re Expendable.”