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home > races/results > usa: massachusetts > mayor’s cup cross country races in boston—enjoyable racing experience for all runners

Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races in Boston—Enjoyable Racing Experience for All Runners
Six races make this event open to all ages and abilities; it is not only for world class and nationally competitive runners and youth harriers; it is for average runners looking for a new racing experience off the pavement and away from the routine.

Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races in Boston—Enjoyable Racing Experience for All Runners

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 9 September, 2008

This is your cross country race; this is where you challenge yourself on one of the best racing venues in the eastern USA. Running at Boston’s famed Franklin Park on October 26, a true gem in the Emerald Necklace, this is the race for teams and individuals looking for a new, enjoyable, challenging, and more intense and rewarding running/racing experience. Looking for something more than your average vanilla 5K or 8K? This is it!

There will be a women’s championship 5K race, and a men’s championship 8K event for very high level regional, national, and international stars. There will be three youth races of 1.1 miles for ages 14-and under. And there will be an open competition for all others—the Franklin Park 5K, run on the same course as the championship event. This is Running in the Fall! This is racing! It is instinctive; it is invigorating; it is as much fun as you and teammates can have in autumn running.

This is the 19th year for the Mayor’s Cup Cross Country events at Franklin Park and the seventh year for the Franklin Park 5K, the Mayor’s Cup race open to all. The Boston Athletic Association and adidas are the primary sponsors of the Mayor’s Cup Races. The B.A.A. supports many community and competitive running activities through out the year, including the sold-out B.A.A. Half Marathon which tours the Emerald Necklace on October 12; and of course it is best known for hosting the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon-the 113th will be running April 20, 2009.

USATF-New England administers the Mayor’s Cup in conjunction with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families. USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running, and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of the Olympic Games. Track and field and cross country are the top high school and junior high school participatory sports, and there are more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. Some of the best—and some of the most enthusiastic of these--will be present at the Mayor’s Cup races on Sunday, October 26. This highly anticipated event is truly for everyone—all mainstream runners can get back to their roots and also be a fan/spectator at top level national meet.

It will make you a better runner!
Best of all in addition to your own race you can thrill to high level competition as a spectator, watching some of the best. And you can watch the kids compete at a level of competition that bodes well for the future of this sport (not your average kids’ fun run, but a real racing experience). Then you can run your own race with all the thrills, intensity, and natural beauty of cross country on a course used for National Championships and even a World Championship—truly one of the best venues around. And multi-loop courses make it even more interesting for competitors and spectators alike.

Perhaps you ran X-C in high school or college, and thought it was only for the young. Not true! This event gives everyone—teams and individuals of all levels, all ages--a chance to experience and enjoy this wonderfully organized, beautifully orchestrated, multi-race event. It is a gem alright, easy to enter, and easy to get to; you should not miss this opportunity.

Reintroduce the concept and enjoy the camaraderie of a team on New England’s premiere venue for cross country. Run the storied course and experience it with friends. Teams and individuals must be USATF members, or the international equivalent, to participate in the championship races. Membership is encouraged for all others, but is not required for eligibility in the open Franklin Park 5K. You won’t want to miss this unique race. No excuses.

Unmatched Course and Venue
The Franklin Park course itself is as much the essence of the Mayor's Cup cross country races as the runners who come to compete. Franklin Park has been the setting for regional and national blockbuster meets for decades. In 1992 it was the proud host of the Cross Country World Championships. Because of this history, the terrain, the convenient location, and course design, it is one of the really storied cross-country venues alongside San Diego’s Balboa Park and New York's Van Cortlandt Park.

Designed for racing, the course is honest, classic cross-country. While not necessarily the most demanding of courses, it does include an uphill challenge (once on the 5K and twice on the 8K) at Bear Cage Hill, once home to the bears of Franklin Park Zoo. There is a mix of terrain to keep runners sharp and focused.

It's not just a park that has random trails, and it's not just open fields or golfing fairways shared by runners. This is an actual cross-country course that was designed for the World Championships and for community harriers to run.

Franklin Park provides the entire range of cross country running: uphill, incline grade, downhill and flat; it has been muddy too, depending on the weather. It’s got grass, trails, and gravel--good footing and challenging strides.

The 8K and 5K courses are both multiple-loop courses, but runners experience the loops differently each time, running the segments of each loop in a different order. In the men's 8K, for example, runners circle the Franklin Park field (the Playstead) and the venerable White Stadium twice, then climb Bear Cage Hill. The runners descend back to the field and into the Wilderness, a leafy area in full autumn color at the Mayor's Cup. Then it's back to the field and, once again, up Bear Cage Hill, into the Wilderness, and then the race to the finish. Basically the 5K is a three-loop course, the 5K a five loop, and the youth 1.1-mile a single loop course—each loop generally clockwise.

It's probably the best spectator course there is, offering wide open views. Each loop also passes the “Team Area” where many teams set up their “headquarters” tents and setups.

Not your Mom and Pop Cute 5K
There are many runners who are interested in trying something new and have become bored with the same old road race routine. Some runners are exploring adventure races, trail races, marathons, triathlons, and ultra marathons. But many average runners are anxious to challenge themselves and get back to basics with cross-country too. Though challenging, it is doable for nearly every runner—experienced or new—and offers a quick “adventure” tour that will rev the senses. To cross-country enthusiasts, Mayor’s cup signals an opportunity for mainstream road runners to discover new challenges amid new surroundings.

That's why they added the Franklin Park 5K to the Mayor's Cup roster, to provide a welcoming venue and competition level for sampling or reintroduction to cross-country running on one of the nation's top courses. If you haven't tried cross-country, you owe it to yourself to try it. It's in our ancestral blood, and stimulates our enjoyment for the sport. The unpredictability of cross-country is its primary allure-multiple terrain, slogging through mud, running through the trees, and pounding across fields: cross-country is about overcoming natural obstacles as well as the competition. It's a challenge that requires strategy, speed, strength, and endurance.

When you're used to running roads, you can get into a very predictable routine, but cross-country isn't a routine sport. With constantly changing terrain and a competitive field, cross-country races can be challenging and chaotic, but more stimulating and rewarding than a typical road race. You have to keep your head in the race for the entire distance because everything is constantly changing, and you have to use both mental and physical energy during the entire race. But it is also much more satisfying. Try it!


Event Website
Boston Mayor's Cup Website

Race dates
October 26, 2008

Start times
10 am: Girls & Boys 1.1-race (10 & under)
10:15 am: Girls & Boys 1.1-race (11-12)
10:30 am: Girls & Boys 1.1-race (13-14)
10:45 am: Franklin Park 5K (Open)
11:30 am: Women's Championship 5K
Noon: Men's Championship 8K

Course type
Multiple loop, multi surface, off pavement

Race guidelines
Women's Championship 5K: Under 21:00 (min. age 18)
Men's Championship 8K: Under 30:00 (min. age 18)
Franklin Park 5K Open (15 & older, F & M)



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