Sunday, December 28, 2008

Seen and Heard on the Trails

Neon is Making a Comeback
Check with the teens in your house or neighborhood. Bright neon colors are making their way back into the hip clothing and running attire. Look for some wild colors to emerge in 2009. We test marketed some NEON tees this fall and both girl and boy cross country runners snatched them up!

High School Girls Injured
Saw too many injuries among high school girls this fall in cross country. Why? There is not one single factor for girls running injuries. What is true is the the quality of girls running distance now has jumped in the past 10 years. Girls training has started to reach the level only previously seen with boys. When athletes train harder, more injuries will occur. What you will see is more attention to nutrition in girls and more attention to weight. Girls go through significant body changes in the high school years and these changes affect performance. Too often we see young girls fighting the inevitable weight gain with puberty. The result can be seen in stress fractures, anemia and fatigue. More on this subject in the next issue.

The Fastest Boy Distance Runner in the U.S.
The 30th Footlocker National Championships took place on December 13th in San Diego. The Footlocker series has been the crown jewel in high school cross country post-season competition. Nike's Cross Nationals could be a threat to this long-standing national competiton that crowns the fastest boy and girl in the nation over the 5K course in Balboa Park. For now, Footlocker has not suffered in a dilution of the qualifying field. We had the privelege of watching the incredible undefeated run of Solomon Haile (left). Haile has been running in the United States for almost a year. This fall was his first cross country season. (He attends Sherwood High School, which is within 40 minutes of ARA's office.) Haile not only won every cross country meet he ran, he broke the course record in every meet. The two most notable course records he shattered were the 2.5 mile course in Van Cortland Park at the Manhattan College Invitational in mid-October and the 5K course in the same park in late November. Haile also stirred up issues of his age, as the birth records and calendar are quite different in Ethiopia than the U.S. Nonetheless, Solomon Haile set the local cross country scene ablaze with his long fluid stride and determined will to win.

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