The Daytona Experience: Speedways Bid To Host XC State Finals

 

 

The Daytona Experience: Speedways Bid To Host XC State Finals

To maintain a lead over the field in their industry, the officials at the Daytona International Speedway are ever-mindful of changes in the mood of their audience. For example, they are fully aware that in 2012, and beyond, no topic is hotter than--excuse the pun--Global Warming.  Day and night, their mental pistons have been working to come up with a solution to the question, “How do we fill the seats, while emitting zero carbon emissions?” The answer to that question may very well come at the conclusion of the next cross country season.
 
According to Corey Sobers of the FHSAA, three Florida locations have made bids as a possible site for the 2012 FHSAA Cross Country Championship. They are Apalachee Regional Park in Tallahassee, Windy Hill Farm in Gainesville, and the Daytona International Speedway. Yes, race fans, the birthplace of speed may soon be shifting gears and--burning Vibram rubber—to the sound of footsteps.
 
It seems quite logical that the Daytona International Speedway (DIS) would join forces with members of the Greater Daytona Chamber of Commerce (i.e. representative of hundreds of hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and miniature golf courses (all with a pirate theme) along the World’s Most Famous Beach) to offer a unique approach to running a cross country race: a 3.1 mile lap, in and around, the tri-oval of the DIS. 
 
Now some of you might say, “Whoa; that track is made of asphalt, and a cross country race is on grass!” Up until now, courses have been run on natural surfaces, however, I could find nowhere in the rule book that it says they must be. 
 
Other than that minor deviation from hundreds of years of cross country tradition, why not run the next FHSAA State Meet at the DIS? After all, stock car races have “adapted.”  They began with the high-speed pursuit of moonshiners (the hare, if you will), by revenuers (the hounds), along otherwise deserted country roads. From there they went, ahem, south, to the beaches and A1A of Volusia County, until, on February 22, 1959, Bill France Sr. introduced the world to NASCAR and the Daytona 500 on the 2.5 mile (4.0 kilometer) banked track of the Daytona International Speedway.
 
On the positive side, Daytona is “the birthplace of speed,” right off of I-95, kinda sorta centrally located, and most importantly only 23 minutes from my house.  There’s also lots of seating—167,785, not counting the infield—plus unlimited parking for cars, buses, campers, motor homes, ski boats (on Lake Lloyd), and planes (Daytona Airport is right next door). Hopefully, however, they won’t assess a $35 parking fee. 
 
So what’s not to like about this scenario? Your team arrives a day early, and afterwards spends an extra night. In that span, except for a race that lasts about 15-20 minutes, you have a mini-vacation, which includes beach access (a good place for a morning run), unlimited recreational opportunity (including Destination Daytona, DIS track tours, Sunsplash Park, the Boardwalk, Daytona Lagoon, and the Ocean Walk, among others), and more places to eat than Disney. Tours to the historic Streamline Hotel, where it all began, can easily be arranged.
 
Of course, there are still some bugs to work out.  For example, unless you sit in the nosebleed section—or can run as fast as the kids--the viewing is pretty much limited to the start and finish. Also, in an effort to prevent any one racer from gaining an edge, certain restrictions might be necessary.  There will, undoubtedly, be questions of sole thickness, aerodynamic hair styling, and limits to car-bo loading. 
 
But will sponsors buy into it? Current race uniforms--a singlet and shorts—offer little in the way of a surface area for corporate logos. Perhaps runners could wear overalls, which allow far more patches to be sewn on, thus providing interest for the crossover NASCAR crowd.  Or the entries could tattoo their neck, arms and legs--lots of room for that—whether temporarily, or otherwise. 
 
Endorsements, of course, would be a snap.  Among other things, there’s athlete’s foot powder, antiperspirant--the commercials could be filmed in “pit” row— deodorant soap, and a special “something” that a sufferer could take in case of “the runs.” 
 
But how many spectators are willing to pay money and sit through only one lap at a modest five-to-six minute pace?  There would hardly be time to make a trip to The Bistro in Fanzone and purchase a $3 hot dog, or a $4 bottle of water!
 
Perhaps the marketing department of Daytona International Speedway could sweeten the experience with an area where souvenir semis could park, and could offer--not little metal cars with numbers on them, but--racing flats, t-shirts, sweats, and a bobble-head Andres.  We could certainly count on the shoe and clothing companies to make an appearance, plus an Army of One, the Few the Proud, and The Global Force for Good.
 
So there you have it; environmentally friendly, zero emission racing. At any rate, it would be a lot of fun pretending to be a stock car, even if it is only for one day a year: “Runners, start your engines!”
 

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  • Coach_Keppel / 3 Years Ago
    Please share if you have heard something from FHSAA.
  • runaa / 3 Years Ago
    It looks like 3 bids were put in, including Gainesville, which wants to hold the meet on a Friday due to a home football game on Saturday.

    www.runnerspace.com/gprofile.php?mgroup_id=31488&d....
  • aholmes80 / 3 Years Ago
    I would like to see Tallahassee get it out of the 3
  • CoachHoward / 3 Years Ago
    Interesting that is really out of the hands of those most impacted, the coaches and athletes. Does the FHSAA elicit opinions in any way? Who exactly makes this decision.
    As for the venues, 1 is largely unknown, 1 has never been used for this purpose, and one is proven and well-run by experts who helped design the facility.
  • coachemorris / 3 Years Ago
    CoachHoward
    Interesting that is really out of the hands of those most impacted, the coaches and athletes. Does the FHSAA elicit opinions in any way? Who exactly makes this decision.



    @CoachHoward

    A very good question.
  • ubiQuitous1 / 3 Years Ago
    May 12- June 1 Ranking of proposals
    June 2- July 1 Negotiation of contract of top ranking bid, site visitation (if needed)
    July 2- Award of contracts- Final signing

    Here is text from the RFP
    www.fhsaa.org/sites/default/files/attachments/info....

    FHSAA staff reviews proposals submitted by the June 1, 2012 deadline, identifies finalist sites and conducts site surveys. FHSAA staff finalizes and makes recommendation to Executive Director relative to preferred site(s); Executive Director or his designee announces top ranking proposal and begins negotiations with prospective host organization(s).

    The FHSAA staff will examine thoroughly each proposal received. Fulfillment of the essential criteria for hosting the event, the cost factors, and specific advantages and disadvantages of each proposal will be the foundation of this examination. The Executive Director or his designee will negotiate with one or more prospective host organizations and will enter into an agreement on the Association’s behalf with the successful organization. The target deadline for completing a signed agreement is July 2, 2012.
  • Coach_Loth / 3 Years Ago
    "Interesting that is really out of the hands of those most impacted, the coaches and athletes. Does the FHSAA elicit opinions in any way? Who exactly makes this decision."

    @CoachHoward

    I'm sure it couldn't hurt to make our opinions known to our FHSAA sport administrator. I know I will.
  • ubiQuitous1 / 3 Years Ago
    @CoachHoward
    I can tell you Windy Hill Farms has a lot of space. It is 800 acres and has hosted the Swamp Run in November and April and has plans for other sporting events as well in the future. In addition, the owners have been great community members hosting several nonprofit fundraisers throughout the year.
    maps.google.com/maps?q=13014+Northwest+174th+Avenu....

    The course will have hills and be moderately challenging. The start will be very wide to give ample room to all the teams(100 yards or greater) and the length to the first turn will allow athletes to have a great unimpeded start. The course layout is incomparable to any course I have seen here in Florida. I would say it would compare to the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course, the host of the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

    There is great viewing for spectators. There will be open access to the course and bleachers available for spectators at the finish line.

    Regarding the Friday date, the GSC submitted that in the proposal after feedback from coaches. However, the Friday date can be moved if necessary according to Joleen Cacciatore.

    I assure you that the Gainesville Sports Commission has done its homework and will put on a first class event. They have hosted the FHSAA State Track and Field Meet, The AAU State track and Field Meet, The USATF Junior Track and Field National meet, the Jimmy Carnes Invitational and AAU State Indoor Track and Field meets, The Sunshine State Games track and Field Meet and with this new site becoming available, I hope that the GSC will bid for other cross country events.

    Good luck to all the bids. Great to see so many to choose from.

    Ricky Quintana
  • Gooch7 / 3 Years Ago
    Important question with all 3 bids is regarding the "Pre-State" meet..

    If Gainesville takes it when will they have their Pre-State meet?

    If FSU takes it we all know Pre-State would land on Oct 6.

    If Daytona takes it when will they have their Pre-State meet?

    The schedule is full of Invites and it would need to land between Oct 6 and Oct 20.. Everything past that date you are getting into Conference and District meets.. In my opinion you should have the Pre-State meet either on Oct 6 or Oct 13.. Not to many more options...

    Lets make the Fianl decision SOON!!
  • ubiQuitous1 / 3 Years Ago
    @Gooch7
    GSC's bid includes a prestate meet. Not sure of date
  • CoachHoward / 3 Years Ago
    @ubiQuitous1 thanks Ricky. I feel much better about the Gainesville bid now. Friday date doesn't really bother me as we would leave after school thursday so only miss one day.
  • ubiQuitous1 / 3 Years Ago
    Good to know Coach Howard.
    I know the GSC is looking to host other meets to give everyone an opportunity to experience the course. The owners are athletes themselves which helps and have been consulting with all levels of coaches.
    June 1 is not too far off....should know soon where the new state meet site will be
  • coachemorris / 3 Years Ago
    Thanks for all the info particularly the Gainesville bid, Q. It sounds very interesting and could potentially put Florida back on the cross country national scene again. Please keep us informed.
  • gatorjav / 3 Years Ago
    This will have an impact on the decision.

    Gainesville
    UF vs. LSU--Sat. Oct. 6th
    UF @ Vandy--Sat. Oct 13th
    UF vs. South Carolina--Sat. Oct. 20th
    UF vs. Jacksonville State--Sat. Nov. 17th

    Tallahassee
    FSU @ NC State--Sat. Oct. 6th
    FSU vs. Boston College--Sat. Oct. 13th
    FSU @ Miami--Sat. Oct. 20th
    FSU @ Maryland--Sat. Nov. 17th
  • Gooch7 / 3 Years Ago
    @gatorjav

    Both locations should be fine.
    FSU will keep the "Pre-State" meet for Oct 6

    Gainesville will need to have the "Pre-State" meet on Oct 13.

    Both dates should not effect any Coference Championships. I just wished they made the decision a little quicker. Why woulod it take over a month to look at the three locations? Also got another question: Will the new State location go back to the original race schedule or will they use the modified schedule that LER used last year with the last race starting at 11am? The original schedule had the first race starting at 7:30am (instead of 8:30am)..
  • aholmes80 / 3 Years Ago
    Are we really talking about running a state meet on an asphalt track? To me that is a terrible option. Not being a NASCAR fan in the least i thought that the Daytona bid was running on the grass infield around the track. The other bids seem like much better options. I could see the FHSAA wanting to make a ton of money off a tourist trap like Daytona
  • jason / 3 Years Ago
    @aholmes80 Just back from a business trip and read Ralph's article. It was always my impression, also, that the bid was to run the XC race on the infield of Daytona... not the track. Ralph is always trying to be funny, but seeking clarification.
  • nmmeans / 3 Years Ago
    If anyone had a map of the old DeLand Airport course, you could probably recreate it on DIS's infield...
  • Coach_Loth / 3 Years Ago
    aholmes80
    Are we really talking about running a state meet on an asphalt track? To me that is a terrible option. Not being a NASCAR fan in the least i thought that the Daytona bid was running on the grass infield around the track. The other bids seem like much better options. I could see the FHSAA wanting to make a ton of money off a tourist trap like Daytona


    @aholmes80

    I interpreted that the same way and was surprised to say the least. Maybe it was a little creative writing. Interested to hear the answer.
  • CoachHoward / 3 Years Ago
    The article had to be humor. Course would be on the infield.
  • ubiQuitous1 / 3 Years Ago
    @Gooch7
    Windy Hill Farms, Saturday, Oct 13, will be unavailable due to hosting the Courage Games.
  • bing28 / 3 Years Ago
    Okay this is getting crazy! There has got to be a better way to select a cross country course than just saying hey come put in a bid! Our teams deserve to run on a top grade A course, and it sounds like FSU or Gainesville is the place to run! You go to Daytona for a vacation with the family not to run XC champs meet!
  • vantheman / 3 Years Ago
    When I read the article I thought that today must be April 1st and I just didn't know it -- it's called cross country for a reason!! I really hope that sanity prevails at the FHSAA and they will narrow the bid down to Gainesville or Tallahassee (preferably Tally).
  • CoachHoward / 3 Years Ago
    FYI, the Michigan state finals are held at Michigan International Speedway. Here's a link....

    www.mispeedway.com/Articles/2011/11/MHSAA-Cross-Co....

    Again, there is NO WAY the race would be run on asphalt.
  • dugco / 3 Years Ago
    jason
    @aholmes80 Just back from a business trip and read Ralph's article. It was always my impression, also, that the bid was to run the XC race on the infield of Daytona... not the track. Ralph is always trying to be funny, but seeking clarification.


    @jason Gotta be the infield, but even then, check it out - not like theres a whole lot of open greenspace. The pretty space in front of main grandstand is only about a quarter mile long. Other areas are criss-crossed with roadways. ARP all the way!


    Daytona Speedway
  • columbiatrack / 3 Years Ago
    I'm almost 100% sure the course will be grass with DIS bringing in dirt on the paved areas to link the grass sections together. Knowing who designed the course i am sure the runners will never touch asphalt!
  • CoachRaposo / 3 Years Ago
    Gooch7
    Gainesville will need to have the "Pre-State" meet on Oct 13.


    @Gooch7 I don't think Gainesville or Daytona have established a Pre-State type of meet as of now. The FSU Invitational would be fitting, though.

    Remember that there hasn't always been a Pre-State meet, eg. 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007. And 2005 was the flrunners.com Invitational acting as Pre-State, so that was a two-in-one.


    dugco
    Gotta be the infield, but even then, check it out - not like theres a whole lot of open greenspace. The pretty space in front of main grandstand is only about a quarter mile long. Other areas are criss-crossed with roadways. ARP all the way!


    @dugco That is a lot of asphault. Definitely not as runner, coach, or spectator friendly as Little Everglades or Ed Radice have been.
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    Coaches,

    Yes, I did indeed intend to take a humorous "track." (Todd Grasely, who has also been working on this story, will follow with a more serious analysis of this process.)

    To answer some of the questions:

    David Halliday, who has put on some excellent events on behalf of FPCs track and cross country teams, filed the bid on behalf of Flagler-Palm Coast High School. He has told me that he does plan to use the infield.

    I have seen the infield, however, and the space is actually quite limited. (Todd's article will include a Google Earth image of the DIS, and you will see how little open space actually exists.) What isn't dedicated to road courses (for such events as the Rolex 24 and the various motorcycle events)
  • CoachHalliday / 3 Years Ago
    Asphalt...REALLY?!?
  • CoachRaposo / 3 Years Ago
    CoachHalliday
    Asphalt...REALLY?!?


    @CoachHalliday Dave, how about a 2.9 mile "5k" asphault completely downhill course? Forget that 15 flat mark, I want to see one of these boys break 14 minutes this season. Let's make it happen!!
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    Coaches,

    Sorry for the premature interjection.

    (To continue) ...is intersected by service roads, buildings, fences and various and sundry structures that would make the course difficult to lay out, and quite redundant.

    In offering a track alternative, I merely suggested an alternative. In researching the possibility, I seriously did not see where there is a rule that says you can't run a XC race on asphalt--who hasn't run a road race?--and having witnessed several Daytona 5Ks on the track, introduced the idea of a unique, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime event. Imagine running an all-out 5K footrace on, arguably, the most famous track in the world, to decide the State Championship. It would be an unusual, and certainly unforgettable experience.

    I suggested to Todd that we do a "straw poll,"--not that it would be a deciding factor--but in so doing we would hear everyone's opinion. This would certainly facilitate the process of gathering as much input as possible by those who are most directly affected by the final decision.

    I trust the final decision will take everything into account.

    --Ralph Epifanio
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    David,

    Actually, how much different would it be to run a 5K on asphalt? Most of Florida's cross country courses are on flat, sun-baked ground. Where there is grass, it's usually worn down and sparse. Even our golf courses are, for the most part, relatively flat.

    Besides, the kids spend 95% of their time--or more--training on roads anyway.

    I've been covering road races and cross country long enough to say that there isn't much of a difference in times between the two. Track, yes, but the other two, no...unless you intentionally route the XC (or road) course over hills.

    Downhill, at DIS? Maybe if we went through the tunnel....

    --Ralph Epifanio
  • kyankees07 / 3 Years Ago
    No way it ends up at DIS.
  • coachboza / 3 Years Ago
    @IslandwideRunner

    Any team that spends 95% of their time on asphalt either has no choice or doesn't know better. With all due respect, there is a big difference between cross country and road racing to many of us.
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    David,

    Actually, how much different would it be to run a 5K on asphalt? Most of Florida's cross country courses are on flat, sun-baked ground. Where there is grass, it's usually worn down and sparse. Even our golf courses are, for the most part, relatively flat.

    Besides, the kids spend 95% of their time--or more--training on roads anyway.

    I've been covering road races and cross country long enough to say that there isn't much of a difference in times between the two. Track, yes, but the other two, no...unless you intentionally route the XC (or road) course over hills.

    Downhill, at DIS? Maybe if we went through the tunnel....

    --Ralph Epifanio
  • aholmes80 / 3 Years Ago
    I guess technically speaking a cross country course is anything you can measure that comes out to a 5k regardless of terrain, which would follow the letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit or intent of the law. Any course that has a majority of its surface on pavement should not be considered cross country. If you take a poll of every coach and runner, i thing most would agree that they would want to run a course on a natural surface rather than a paved one, especially if it is a championship meet. I am still in shock that this bid for Daytona is even being considered. I am going to email Shanell Young in the morning and express my opinion about this bid. I have never been to the FSU course in Tally, but from everything i have heard, there are many people working very hard to come up with a permanent course up there. I disagree with the statement that most cc courses in Florida are tantamount to being the same as running on asphalt. If anyone doubts that there are legitimately nice natural surface courses in Florida, come out to our course at Sydney Dover Trails- 100% natural surface
  • columbiatrack / 3 Years Ago
    aholmes80
    I guess technically speaking a cross country course is anything you can measure that comes out to a 5k regardless of terrain, which would follow the letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit or intent of the law. Any course that has a majority of its surface on pavement should not be considered cross country. If you take a poll of every coach and runner, i thing most would agree that they would want to run a course on a natural surface rather than a paved one, especially if it is a championship meet. I am still in shock that this bid for Daytona is even being considered. I am going to email Shanell Young in the morning and express my opinion about this bid. I have never been to the FSU course in Tally, but from everything i have heard, there are many people working very hard to come up with a permanent course up there. I disagree with the statement that most cc courses in Florida are tantamount to being the same as running on asphalt. If anyone doubts that there are legitimately nice natural surface courses in Florida, come out to our course at Sydney Dover Trails- 100% natural surface


    @aholmes80

    Has anyone actually seen the course map to see what DIS and the group placing the bid has come up with for a course? Shouldn't we wait to see what they have come up with before we go calling the FHSAA and complaining. Maybe the course is outside of the track or maybe they are going to build a 5k course with hills and turns like the motorcross track they make for speed weeks?

    If we are going to be nit picky about venues then we should ask about the lack of parking in tally and the lack of any facilities in Gainesville.

    There are not many TRUE cross country courses any more. I am guilty for doing this to, but most courses now are glorified grass tracks. To me a true cross country course is running through mud and jumping over trees and up and down hills. Now everyone seems to want soccer fields, horse tracks or flat grassy trails .

    I think all 3 facilities would do a great job with hosting the state meet so why don't we just wait it out and see who the FHSAA picks. Then if the winning party does a horrible job at hosting then complain to the FHSAA. But to whine before the decision is even made and all the facts are out there about the facilities is kind of jumping the gun if you ask me.


    My 2 cents (im sure Raposo will have a witty response )
  • jason / 3 Years Ago
    @columbiatrack I agree. Plus Todd is going to be publish a story tomorrow with more details about each of the three venues that are bidding. With pros and cons.
  • CoachRaposo / 3 Years Ago
    coachboza
    Any team that spends 95% of their time on asphalt either has no choice or doesn't know better. With all due respect, there is a big difference between cross country and road racing to many of us.

    @coachboza Agreed 100%.


    aholmes80
    I guess technically speaking a cross country course is anything you can measure that comes out to a 5k regardless of terrain, which would follow the letter of the law, but certainly not the spirit or intent of the law. Any course that has a majority of its surface on pavement should not be considered cross country.

    @aholmes80 I've told Jason that when people say a course was fast because a mile of it was on asphalt, then we should classify it as a road race, even for district meets. LOL!


    columbiatrack
    There are not many TRUE cross country courses any more. I am guilty for doing this to, but most courses now are glorified grass tracks. To me a true cross country course is running through mud and jumping over trees and up and down hills. Now everyone seems to want soccer fields, horse tracks or flat grassy trails. My 2 cents (im sure Raposo will have a witty response)

    @columbiatrack Ask and you shall receive! Haha. But in all seriousness, I'm completely with you on this one. That's one reason why I'm not a fan of Ed Radice at a State Venue, but at the same time I'm not a huge fan of European style cross country courses like NXN puts on for Nationals. I'm not opposed to races like that in general, but for high school kids to go from the type of venues we run regularly, to something that has obstacles and a bunch of terrains, I don't think it will turn out well for most.
  • BConvey / 3 Years Ago
    In my perfect world, a cross country course does not have pavement. It DOES have hills if possible, and it has a few sharp turns or other challenging features on it which break up the race and require some thought on positioning. I would prefer it these features were not contrived like on the Nike course. Actually, from what I've seen, Balboa Park where they run Footlocker Nationals is a really good example of what an XC course should be.
  • bulldogxc / 3 Years Ago
    If you don't trust that Coach Halliday has done his homework and addressed to the best of his ability all of the concerns (and I would bet a few more not even listed yet) about DIS then either:
    A) You don't know Coach Halliday
    or
    B) You do know Coach Halliday but you are one of those people that are never happy.

    Sincerely,
    TJ Woodbury
  • bwilson / 3 Years Ago
    Really had wished someone had put in a proposal for the Villages Polo Grounds. The course is centrally located, has some challege to the course, beautiful venue, great viewing area and wouldn't have to compete with football for rooms or scheduling the meet. It can also handle having a Pre-State meet on any given weekend. It has sufficient enough area to layout a great course if the current one doesn't exactly work. I just don't understand how the long-term is going to work when you have to schedule around football games.
  • nmmeans / 3 Years Ago
    @bwilson There's a lot more to having a meet at The Villages Polo Grounds than just having a nice field. And yes, they have a great venue for running and a lot of options for course design. But the first thing that comes to mind is the lack of parking for a meet the size of state and the venue does not have a good entrance for high-volume traffic.
  • bwilson / 3 Years Ago
    Nathan, I agree that parking could be an issue but if you pull up a google map of the grounds there are huge fields to the south that it looks as if there could be access from roads to the south of the polo grounds. It looks like there might be plenty of parking much like LER where you could access the grounds from a different road much like LER. I have only been to the site once, just ought someone could have checked it out. I think parking looks like it could easily overcome but football games schedules and sufficient hotel rooms can not. Just would like to see a more long-term site like LER.
  • BConvey / 3 Years Ago
    I, for one am hoping this is just a one or two year hiatus from LER. I got the impression the people at LER wanted a break, but would consider hosting again.
  • Coach_Loth / 3 Years Ago
    BConvey
    I, for one am hoping this is just a one or two year hiatus from LER. I got the impression the people at LER wanted a break, but would consider hosting again.


    @BConvey

    I would love for that to be the case as well, but I don't see it happening. The ranch owners were never really given the opportunity to see where the teams/coaches were coming from in terms of the cost and when we tried, they were not very receptive. Also, since they've been relatively successful in finding alternate events to replace the lost revenue of pre & state, they don't have much motivation. IMO.
  • CoachHoward / 3 Years Ago
    BConvey
    I, for one am hoping this is just a one or two year hiatus from LER. I got the impression the people at LER wanted a break, but would consider hosting again.


    @BConvey While I wasn't privy to the meetings with FHSAA that ultimately lead to LER not hosting I've been in enough meetings with ranch manager to know that if the money is right then LER is available. There might be more to it than this, but I doubt it.
  • nmmeans / 3 Years Ago
    bwilson
    Nathan, I agree that parking could be an issue but if you pull up a google map of the grounds there are huge fields to the south that it looks as if there could be access from roads to the south of the polo grounds. It looks like there might be plenty of parking much like LER where you could access the grounds from a different road much like LER. I have only been to the site once, just ought someone could have checked it out. I think parking looks like it could easily overcome but football games schedules and sufficient hotel rooms can not. Just would like to see a more long-term site like LER.


    @bwilson Most of the land around the Polo Grounds is not owned by the Polo Grounds. In fact, part of the course itself (most of the third mile) is on separately owned, private land. There's also a lot more to it that I don't feel free to discuss. I agree with your sentiment - I just don't see it happening over there.

    If I had a large sum of money, I'd buy a bunch of grove land in the Clermont area and build a cross-country only venue just for such a thing as this. But I don't, so...
  • Gooch7 / 3 Years Ago
    I also hope that this is a ONE year deal and we head back to LER. It does come down to money and the $7 parking fee is NOT A BIG DEAL if it meant having an established "Pre-State" meet, plenty of parking space, never affected by a college football game, great course (all on grass), very close to the center of the State, and many many more positives then negatives. The ONLY thing I was not very happy about the LER owners was the change of race schedule. I did not agree with it at all.. Other then that I think LER should be the long term location of the State meet.

    Currently FSU is the ONLY venue with a set "Pre-State" meet. A possitive for all three venues is the weather (specialy FSU). We can see a 40F morning(maybe)..
  • BConvey / 3 Years Ago
    I here there's a new course going up in Lakeland that may be just the spot for future consideration.... stay tuned for more from Jason.
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    It is heartening to see the outpouring of interest in doing the State Meet right. While that enthusiasm is still strong, here are a couple of suggestions to consider.

    First, as many people seem to be saying, there is currently no "perfect spot" in Florida for a state-level cross country championship to be held. Well, why not create one? Take all the suggestions as to what contributes to a championship-level course, write a master plan, and submit it--through FHSAA--to the state legislature.

    So far we have the following:

    1- It should be open to use on any weekend, so that athletes miss as little school as possible, and when family members can attend.
    2- It must be centrally located, with lots of hotels, parking, and access to facilities that are needed.
    (So far, this sounds like Orlando.)
    3- The course should be on a natural surface, with no intrusions of asphalt. It should also offer a variety of terrain, such as fields, hills, perhaps with parts entering a forest, maybe a wooden bridge or two, (a tunnel?) and a start/finish that follows the template set by the rules.The course should be large enough as not to be redundant, yet accessible enough that runners can be viewed several times by the spectators.
    (Now, we see the need for the creation of a course that meets these criteria, as there are few--if any--public facilities that currently do.)

    The current Olympic model has it half right. When the (modern) Olympics were revived in 1896 (Panathenic Stadium in Athens), it brought the athletes to the site. (Personally, I think it should have stayed there, saving not only Greece's economy, but countless billions of dollars by its future hosts. However, as it is now facilitated, when an Olympiad is over, it lives on in the facilities that enrich the city/country that hosted it. That could be the advantage of creating a 200-500 acre public facility in a "suburb" of Orlando.

    Many cities in America, as they were making a transition from a rural society to an urban on, transferred what was left of large estates and substantial open areas to the public domain. Long Island, Cleveland, Nashville, and Spartanburg (the Milliken property) are some examples.Like the aforementioned cities, what little is left of rural Central Florida is about to be consumed forever by a megalopolis that is slated to become the world's "playground," leaving virtually no open space for the kinds of things that brought so many people here to live; fresh water lakes, clean rivers, and expansive natural areas--the kind of atmosphere that makes cross country running what it was meant to be.

    Once dedicated, constructed, and preserved, it could add Invitational, Conference, District, and Regional high school meets; college meets; and NCAA, USATF, and IAAF Championships to its schedule. The money would flow in to continue its existence, guaranteeing its continuance.

    What do you think?

    --Ralph Epifanio
  • columbiatrack / 3 Years Ago
    IslandwideRunner


    What do you think?

    --Ralph Epifanio


    @IslandwideRunner

    I think i need 20 acres a bulldozer of some sorts, a huge parking garage and about $400k. Anyone care to donate those?
  • LFCSumner3 / 3 Years Ago
    I think cameras throughout the entire course would be cool. You could login to each camera as the runners passed or have multiple cameras viewed at the same time. That way you don't miss any of the action and you don't have to run around chasing the athletes. Also, there should be permanent maps at every half mile so splits and team standings can be calculated. And music for the athletes to stay motivated. Oh, and also make it all indoors with different climates in different sections of the race.
  • columbiatrack / 3 Years Ago
    Can we add a water pit with gators ( we will feed them before each race of course). maybe some big rings with fire on them for the athletes to run though! yea that would be awesome!
  • IslandwideRunner / 3 Years Ago
    If you want something bad enough, you'll work to see it done. In the locations that I've seen "greenbelts" established, the parties interested in their success used proactive, and sometimes innovative thinking to carry it to fruition. In western and central Long Island, for example, a number of estates were donated, to be maintained as parks in perpetuity, by wealthy people who didn't want to see them subdivided. (In one such park, they held the 1984 World Games for the Disabled, and thus secured for themselves a state of the art track venue.) In eastern Long Island, the residents of one large township voted to tax themselves to buy open land, thus shielding themselves from over development. The Nature Conservancy purchases unimaginable acreage to protect it. In other parts of the country, important parcels were--and continue to be--secured through condemnation, land swaps, "rail trails," matching grants (ex., Echo Grants in Volusia County), placing land under entitlements such as "current use" (as in New Hampshire where the state trades tax breaks--to individual land owners--for unlimited use by such outdoor enthusiasts as runners, bikers, cross country skiers, hunters, fishermen, snowmobilers, etc.), or as a result of the minds and creativity of visionaries (such as Robert Moses in New York State, or the student at FGCU who established a multipurpose trail in the middle of his 750 acre campus). Even corporations, by sharing the use of their undeveloped land, secure tax breaks.

    Donations are good, but ideas are better. And as far as the cameras and gators? Build it and they too will come.

    Peace.
  • rcrabtree / 3 Years Ago
    Does anyone know if this is a one year, or two or three year deal? Or are two contracts outstanding?
  • aholmes80 / 3 Years Ago
    @rcrabtree
    2 year with an option for a 3rd