August 14, 2013
Dear Dr. Greer and Members of the Radford City School Board:
As 55 parents of runners on the Radford City cross country team, we ask that our team be allowed to continue to train in ways that have led them to recent success. Specifically, we ask that restrictions on running on city streets be removed.
We offer the following rationale:
Cross country runners need miles. In order to be competitive in their sport, cross country runners will run 20-40 miles a week. Although we have a great network of trails in our city, there simply aren’t enough for runners to train for long distances.
Cross country runners need variety. Cross country running involves hills and variable conditions. To gain speed and experience on a variable terrain, runners need access to certain hills, some of which involve city streets. Bisset Park is too flat to condition our runners for the changes in elevation they experience during competition. Runners also need to be able to vary their workouts. Out and back on the same trail day after day would be repetitive, uninteresting, and not effective training (imagine soccer or football teams doing the same drills day after day). Even with a course on which to hold events, runners would still need to run longer distances, most likely involving roads.
Cross country runners need to continue their training. Over the years, our team has developed certain routes for specific training purposes. They know the distances of these routes and what times are optimal to complete them. Their coaches meet them on these routes to call out time “splits” (how well they are doing) and to provide water breaks.
We understand that there are risks to running on roads, just as there are risks in any sport. However, all of our runners are coached on how to run smart on roads: against the flow of traffic, in single file, without ear buds, and to use trails or track whenever possible. Furthermore, we are not aware of any recent information (or incidents) that would lead to a road-running ban, nor of any restrictions like this in the area–or nation. The Radford University Cross Country Team uses city roads to train. And while we appreciate the opportunity to bus the team to other trails, because of the time involved in travel (adding to that of time traveling to meets), it is not an option that can be used frequently.
Even as discussions about a course might continue, we ask that you allow the cross country team to continue to practice in the ways it has in order that our runners might reach their full potential and continue their tradition of success. We fully support coaches Carrow and Dye and their efforts to help our runners train in the most safe and effective way possible.
We urge you to change this restriction effective immediately. Our first meet is less than three weeks away and before the next board meeting. Please let us know if our state championship team can continue to train as they have in the past.
55 Parents of Radford Cross Country Runners