Wednesday 12 October 2016

Making Distaff History at the Old Fort

In a sport as old as foot-racing, it is not easy to make any new history. But, it is in dubious thanks to all those collegiate XC coaches over the past three decades who have either ignored the issue or fought against change on the rare occasions when others have forced them to consider it that we actually have the opportunity to do so this on Saturday, when we host our annual home meet here at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario.

Believe it or not, Saturday, Oct 15, 2016 will see the first equal-distance women's collegiate women's XC race in North American history. You heard that correctly. For the first time since women's XC running was introduced at the intercollegiate level in North America (1981 in the NCAA and 1980 in the now CIS) women will race each other over exactly the same distance as the men-- 8k. Individual women have raced the men's distance (although exceedingly rarely), but, unbelievably, never has an entire field of female collegiate racers been offered the chance to run exactly the same course as their male counterparts-- and this, in spite of the fact that they have been racing exactly the same distances on the track for over 30 years.

As a bonus, the field of women who will be making this little bit of long overdue history promises to be outstanding. Along with arguably Canada's top two high school competitors (and two of the best in our history), Brogan MacDougall and Shona McCulloch, the race will feature 5 former members of Canada's team to the World University XC Championships-- Julie-Anne Staehli, Claire Sumner, and Victoria Coates (all while attending Queen's), Colleen Wilson (Dalhousie), and Karissa Lepage (Regina). Add to this a battle between two of the CIS best women's teams-- Queen's (top 4 nationally the past 3 years) and Western University (currently ranked 4th nationally)-- and there will be nothing at all token about this little gathering of female athletic talent!

If you happen to be within driving distance of Old Fort Henry and would like to witness some new history made on top of the old, AND, you would like to see the best non-championship women's XC race you are likely too this season, please join us on Saturday. The women's race will begin at high noon and the men's at 1pm. And if you would like to do a little racing yourself on the fabled Fort layout (host of Canadian Nationals from 2015 to 2018), please enter the community race, brought to you by Running Room Kingston. Entry can be done online at Space is limited, but registration is still open as of posting.