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Summer Series finishes up

Tonight is the last 2010 race in COC’s annual cross country series, which has grown in popularity

Posted: August 18, 2010 10:23 p.m.
Updated: August 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

College of the Canyons caps off its 37th Annual Cross Country Summer Series Thursday night at Cougar Stadium.

The three-mile race begins at 7 p.m. on the COC baseball field, winds through the campus and on to cross country trails along Interstate 5, and it finishes back down the hill toward Cougar Stadium.

It’s the last of seven races this summer in the cross country program’s yearly series of races in Santa Clarita.

“It’s become a big college and community event,” said COC cross country head coach Lindie Kane.

Though the event dates back to the 1970s, Kane said it has only recently grown in popularity. She attributes the increase in participation to the new construction on campus, which changed the course to include less running on dirt trails and more on downhill terrain.

“It provides a more friendly, family atmosphere that more people can enjoy,” she said.

Roughly 500 runners are expected to turn out for this year’s race, which is compared to about 50 runners back in 1994 when Kane first took over as head coach.

The event also reaches out to a wider range of runners. Kane said it attracts elite cross country athletes that race on club teams, high school athletes and a few COC cross country team members. Additionally, the event brings more casual runners, walkers, families and participants as old as 70.

“We have a really diverse group of runners in this race,” Kane said.

Each age group will have a chance to take home a prize as well. The top three male and female finishers in all 13 age groups will receive a medal in the awards ceremony after the race. To be eligible to win, racers must participate in Thursday’s race along with at least two other races earlier this summer.

During the awards ceremony, In-N-Out Burger will provide a post-race dinner. The ceremony immediately follows the race and will take place at Cougar Den, an outdoor picnic area adjacent to Cougar Stadium.

Despite the fun, friendly atmosphere, Kane said some runners take the event plenty seriously. The 17-to-19-year-old age group tends to be the most competitive, though with school now in session, there could be a slight drop in high school participation.

So far this summer, the races have attracted around 500 runners, with the July 22 race drawing an event-record 560.

The event is open to the public and will cost participants $15 to register. For $2, children can participate in the kid’s race 15 minutes prior to the main race.

All registrations occur at the start of the race. No pre-registration is necessary.

Registrants and spectators can park in lot 8 on the COC campus for free starting at 6 p.m. Results will be posted at http://www.dyestat.com.

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