Runners will be out in force for this year's 20th annual College Classic Series on Tortola PHOTO; Dean "The Sportsman" Greenaway
Officials have spent the last week gearing up for Saturday's kick off of the 20th Highland Spring College Classic Series, which begins at Stout College's campus at 7 a.m. on Saturday. Registration, which is free, starts at 6:30 a.m.
"We have been putting all the final touches in place to get the series started," race director Stephanie Russ Penn said. "We're starting at the Stoutt College Paraquita Bay Campus and on the following Saturday, we'll head over to Virgin Gorda to stat their leg there. I'm excited about the season. This is the 20th year of the race and we'll be doing a couple things a little different."
Among changes Russ Penn noted will be in the One Mile for U11 Boys and Girls. She said it's sometimes a struggle for the 9 and 10 year olds to easily transition from the One Mile run to the 2 Mile race. "Looking at the ages and the distance, it makes more sense that they don't do such a long distance and I think I will be a lot more exciting for them if they don't have to do such a long run. So, we'll see how it goes," she said. "It's going to cause me to have to make some changes in the Cross Country area, especially in relation to the Primary Schools, the age categories and qualification. But, I think it will make for a more exciting time for the kids in that age group."
Over the years the series that averages well over 200 participants, has grown to include the service club and community partners. The Rotary Club of Tortola has dominated the service club Cross Country division wining for a 10th successive time last year over the territory's other service clubs. Russ Penn said she's not sure who will be the team to dethrone them. "I don't know, but we will see," she said. "I know they are coming ready, so we'll see who is able to pick up and bring them down."
Russ Penn said they are also finalizing plans for a fundraiser during the course of the series and more details will be forthcoming, and they are hoping to celebrate persons who have played a major role in the success of the event.
"I hope everyone is getting ready, they have their running shoes ready and they are ready to hit the pavement and have a great time," the race director said.
The series has also seen participants from St. Thomas Eudora Kean High School and the University of the Virgin Islands.
Other races on Tortola are scheduled for: Oct 3 and 24 and Nov 14. The Virgin Gorda leg will be run on Sept 26, Oct 17 and Nov 7.