The Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races – A unique event on your fall calendar.
Why not try a cross-country race? Take a break from the road race circuit. This one-of-a-kind fall classic provides all comers a great venue to cut your teeth on the cross-country scene!
Posted Monday, 17 September, 2007
The East Coast’s premier fall cross-country race
In its 18th year The Mayor’s Cup returns to Franklin Park this year on Sunday October 28th. This event is unique in that it is one of the few premier cross-country meets in the region and it is open to everyone.
The Mayor’s Cup is well known for its top-shelf organization, sponsorship and support. Presented by the Boston Athletic Association and Adidas. Directed by USATF and Boston Centers for Youth & Families. The City and Park system are deeply involved as well.
If you pay attention to competitive running you will surely be aware of the Mayor’s Cup’s reputation for attracting a world class and championship field. What you may not be aware of is that there is an open 5K on the same course that anyone can run. Don’t be intimidated – go ahead and try it.
There are actually five separate races that comprise the Mayor’s Cup. There is a Girls 1.1 mile race, a Boys 1.1 mile race for school age competitors. These are competitive cross-country races, not your neighborhood tot’s trot. There is some excellent young talent here, and if you’ve never been to a cross-country race, you’ll be amazed at the level of competition.
Next up is the open Franklin Park 5K. This is an open race for all comers to test themselves against the grassy slopes of Franklin Park. If you’ve never experienced a cross-country meet you have a chance to remedy that at the Mayor’s Cup. You can run, watch or both. You haven’t seen emotion and dedication until you watch the finish line of a cross-country race.
After this the high-level competition starts with the Women’s Championship 5K followed by the Men’s Championship 8K. The field for these races is made up of the some of the best runners in the world. It’s a who’s who of nationally ranked talent. All the local clubs are represented and many of the premier college programs use it as a tune-up race.
Are you ready to have some fun? Try cross-country!
What is a cross-country race? The Mayor’s Cup Cross Country Races are run completely off road. Don’t worry; this isn’t extreme trail racing or steeplechase. You won’t be jumping over logs, fording brooks and scaling walls. These races are run on the grass and paths of Franklin Park. The worst you are in for is some slippery footing and a little mud spatter.
Typically the meet starts on a broad starting line across a wide field. Essentially everyone is on a long starting line. After a few hundred meters the course narrows. This sets up a dynamic where you have to start out at a dead sprint to get position. You need to be a good uphill and downhill runner on grass and dirt, which is quite different than the road.
As the day progresses, if there is any moisture, the course can get a little chewed up for the later races. If it’s muddy you need to figure out how to take hard turns elbow-to-elbow at high speed. I remember one league meet in high school where I went down on a corner in a muddy section. I came across the finish line covered with mud and looking like Swamp Thing.
For those of us who ran cross-country in school it will bring back memories of all those splendid New England fall afternoons spent in glorious competition. You should try it. It’s a blast and there are not that many quality cross-country races available in New England. There are no races with this kind of support and pedigree.
Professionally designed course embedded in the Emerald Necklace.
This course was specifically designed and redone to host the World Cross-Country Championships in the early 90’s. The course is a loop around Franklin Park starting and ending at the Playstead. The kids’ races do one loop and the longer races do multiple loops making it easy to watch. The loop includes a run around White Stadium and up/down Bear Cage Hill.
Franklin Park is part of the “Emerald Necklace” a series of six contiguous parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead wrapping around downtown Boston. Franklin Park was established in 1885 and is the largest ‘jewel’ in the necklace. At around 500 acres the park has a zoo, a golf course, a 100-acre woodland, and a 7-acre waterway called Scarboro Pond
Where the champions come to race.
Professional cross-country racing is huge in Europe. Many Americans will venture to Europe for the yearly cross-country circuit for the high level of competition. The Mayor’s Cup gives runners the opportunity to get some high-level competition Stateside.
Last year’s race featured American miler Alan Webb who finished second to Stephen Chemlany (23:32.). An amazing eight men finished under 24 minutes for the 8k. It was a deep and fast men’s field.
Aziza Aliyu took the Women’s 5K with a time of 16:40. Many champions have made their way through Franklin Park on their way to fame. You may remember Lynn Jennings dominating here in the mid-1990s when she was tearing up the track and field world.
The Mayor’s Cup stands out because there is nothing else like it on the calendar in the fall. It’s really a unique event and a unique opportunity for you to rub elbows with champions and run a 5K cross-country race.
The Crème de la Crème of Boston race support.
The Boston Athletic Association is well know for hosting the Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest marathon. The B.A.A. also presents the B.A.A. Half Marathon in October every year. The Association sponsors many community and competitive running activities through out the year. You can be sure to see the blue singlets with the white unicorn logo leading the pack at most local races.
The B.A.A. this spring is also hosting the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the Women's Marathon in Boston with a new course up and down the Charles.
The USATF-New England runs the “nuts and bolts” of the Mayor’s Cup. 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 Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
The Boston Centers for Youth & Families teams with the USATF New England in putting the pieces of the Mayor’s cup together. This organization has a mission to enhance the quality of life for Boston's residents by supporting children, youth and families through a wide range of programs and services.
The Mayor’s Cup Cross-Country Races – Excellence and fun in Franklin Park.
Make this the year you check “run a cross-country race” off your life list. While your at it see some of the finest young athletes in our sport compete. The drama of these events is unbeatable. The Mayor’s Cup is a one-of-a-kind event that we are privileged to have here in New England. Take advantage of this opportunity and treat yourself to a world-class cross-country race.