Lacombe was chosen this year to play host to the Canadian Western Alberta Junior High Athletic Association (CWAJHAA) cross-country running championships. Students from across Central Alberta, Grades 6-9, will have a chance to compete against hundreds of other runners on Oct. 17th. The Canadian University College (CUC) will host the event and more than 700 runners as they compete for championship titles.
“Lacombe became the host of the event this year. We volunteered and were chosen and that’s kind of a big deal. It’s going to involve hundreds of students coming to our City to compete,” said Rory Whitbread, a coach with École Lacombe Junior High School.
“The idea is that cross-country is not done on paved trails – it’s done on rough trails that involve hills and grass and different surfaces, so it’s challenging for the runners.”
Students, parents and teachers will gather at the CUC by 10:30 a.m. to prepare for their 11:15 a.m. start. Heats and races will continue until 1:25 p.m. when the final group begins their run. Awards will be presented near 2 p.m.
The race consists of two different course lengths – 2km for Grades 6 and 7 and 3km for Grades 8 and 9.
“Personally, I am a runner and I find this very rewarding. I find that you get so many different kids out of school that you don’t necessarily see as part of other sports,” said Whitbread. “There are so many different kids from all distinct backgrounds. They all come out and really enjoy cross-country. They tend to be great kids and I like working with them to make them better runners.”
Whitbread said that the location of the run this year is, “A neat honour” as it will take place on some of the trails that were designed by the late Bill Nielsen. “CUC has an ideal venue for this event with the beautiful trails around the lake. Part of this race course will be on trails that Bill made and maintained so it’s a neat honour for us to have this race follow in the footsteps of the recent race held in his name.”