Cross Country Starting LineIt’s Autumn, which means that Cross Country Season has arrived!

This was always my favorite time of year growing up, mostly because cross country running is a lot of fun. For me, it definitely beats running on the track or roads.

Running over the grass and trails for position rather than time makes it a strategic sport where running as a team can make a much bigger difference than going for individual glories.

In adult races, where cumulative time is scored rather than your finishing position, 1 runner out front can make a difference. But when a 2 minute lead is no different than a 10 second lead when you cross the finish line, it makes more sense to help pull your teammates along and avoid pulling the competition along, but that adds the danger of being caught.

If you have an opportunity to run in a cross country race this season, I recommend you take advantage. Here in Maine, there’s a USATF sanctioned meet somewhere just about every weekend, with most of the meets taking place in Westbrook at Smiling Hill Farm (October 3, 10 & 24), in Augusta at Cony High School (September 26, October 17 & 31) or in Bangor (October 10 & 24). You must be a member of the USATF to race, but the meets themselves only cost $4 each.

There’s also the Maine USATF State Cross Country Championship at Cony High School in Augusta on November 7th, and the Craig Cup at Twin Brooks Recreation Center in Cumberland on October 9, which once again serves as the Open & Masters ME-USATF Championship meet this year.

USATF-Maine has details and contact info for all of the races: 2010 MEUSATF XC Schedule.pdf

A non-USATF sanctioned cross country meet that you might also want to consider is the Combat Cancer 10k at Pineland Farms on September 26th.

(More Info: USATF-ME – Hat Tip: Maine Running Photos – Photo Credit: Adam Kerfoot-Roberts)