Raleigh City Cross Country Championship brings the 2017 Pop Up Cross Country at Dix Park series to a close
October 25, 2017 – Raleigh, North Carolina – The sound of bagpipes filled the air just before the whistle blew to launch the Kids 1000 meter race off the starting line, kicking off the inaugural Raleigh City Cross Country Championship at Dix Park. The event was a joint venture between Sir Walter Running, the City of Raleigh, Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department, and Dix Park.
The event also launched the “Big Field Mile,” a temporary mile loop around the Big Field at Dix Park. The launch was a part of the iDEA Raleigh Campaign, with the goal of activating Dix Park. The “Big Field Mile” has neon green posts every 100 meters, and can be run either clockwise, or counter clockwise, as it is marked both ways, with Strava segments to match (Clockwise segment / Counter Clockwise segment).
“We are continually trying to find creative ways to bring the community to Dix Park. Last night was a great example highlighting not only a successful partnership with the Sir Walter Miler team, but also the potential of Dix Park to host a variety of events. It’s great to see how the park works for lots of different groups,” said Kate Pearce, Senior Planner for Dix Park.
The competitors shared Pearce’s enthusiasm.
“What I loved most about the Pop Up Cross Country series at Dix Park (aka Autumn of Trials) was that it wasn’t about racing the clock; it was about challenging yourself to do something different. It was also an opportunity for lots of runners to return to our roots. Many of us got our start running Cross Country in grade school, but haven’t had the chance to do anything like that since. It was running done the way it should be – pure, simple, and fun. I felt like a kid again,” said Brian Fowler, Captain of the Fleet Feet Raleigh-Morrisville team.
The “Big Field Mile” was set up in European Cross Country fashion, as it was decorated with two hay bail jumps, plus a pumpkin jump, that the athletes had to navigate three times before heading towards toward the finishing stretch that was a just a tenth of a mile, to complete the five kilometer course.
On the Men’s side, Omer Abdulrahman took it out hard and held off former Duke runner, Andrew Palumbo, in 16:47.04. On the Women’s side, the newly formed Raleigh Distance Project ran as a group, with Shawna Jones pulling ahead in the last straightaway to take the win in 20:44.42.
It was a tight battle for the Hayes Barton Bowl, which was awarded to the team winner. Bond Brothers Run Club held off Fleet Feet Raleigh-Morrisville by a narrow 7 point margin. Finishing off the podium was the Oak City Recovery Run Club, who had a surprise guest runner, Jamil Rashad, also known as Boulevards, who finished a strong 9th indvidually in 18:31.65. Rashad, a standout runner in high school in Raleigh, and collegiately at UNC Charlotte, returned to running after a long break. “It feels good to love running again and get those competitive juices flowing,” said Rashad.