14 FEB 2006 General News

New York Road Runners digging out for USA XC

After a record 27 inches of snow fell on the New York City area on Sunday in the blizzard of '06, New York Road Runners officials are mobilizing a small "army" to get the Van Cortlandt Park race course in shape for this weekend's USA Cross Country Championships presented by Gleukos.

"A Herculean effort is underway at Van Cortlandt Park. Our goal is to clear the vast majority of snow on the race course by tomorrow evening," said Mary Wittenberg, president of NYRR, during a conference call on Monday.

NYRR officials have hired a snow army of nearly 50 extra people and mechanical snow clearing equipment, including three bobcats, to get the Van Cortlandt Park course ready for the USA Championships on Saturday and Sunday.

Weather reports for midweek call for warming temperatures before dropping colder over the weekend, adding to the urgency of digging out.

"The race is on to remove the snow before it melts and potentially refreezes as ice," said Wittenberg. "This just keeps it all interesting."

Trying conditions are just part of the challenge and excitement of cross country racing said 2004 Olympian Anthony Famiglietti. "It's cross country, " said Famiglietti, who is scheduled to run in the 4 km race on Saturday. "It's never been a matter of how fast you run, it's where you place. The snow, the hills just add to the competitiveness. The more pain in it, the better it is."

For more information on the USA Cross Country Championships presented by Gleukos visit www.usatf.org.