By Devynn Barnes
On Nov. 8 some of the fastest runners in the country, ages 40 and up, will be taking to the course at Northview Christian Church. The USA Masters 5K Cross Country Championships is expected to bring in more than 500 athletes, and meet director Andy Martin can hardly wait.
“So far we have athletes entered from nine different states, and I’m expecting probably 30 to 35 [states],” Martin said.
The event is put on by Exclamation Services and USA Track and Field Indiana, an organization with which Martin worked for 12 years. A runner in both high school and college, he is excited to have this event so close to home.
“I look forward to showcasing the cross country course to people outside of Indiana, and also inviting people into Indiana just to see what a wonderful place it is,” Martin said. “I just want to show them the charm that Carmel and central Indiana has.”
The race is a 5K, about 3.1 miles, and there are no qualifying times. Anyone is encouraged to participate. The racing is done by age group, ranging from 40 to 44, 45 to 49, all the way up to 80 years old. While USATF and Exclamation Services hopes to have a large Indiana showing, the race is being marketed to all 50 states, with heavy emphasis on those in driving range.
Fairly unique to this type of event, Martin said the runners are looking to find families in Carmel to host athletes in their homes.
“They spend a lot of money to do their travel and it adds up pretty quickly,” Martin said.
The opportunity to stay with a family and experience some first-hand Hoosier hospitality would make race weekend more pleasant and more affordable for the athletes, as well as be an unforgettable experience for families.
“I am excited for the nationals to be held in Carmel,” said Tim Mylin, Carmel High School teacher and avid runner. “My focus this fall will be to get in some great training and stay healthy. Not having to travel for an event of this magnitude is certainly a bonus for those of us living in central Indiana. I look forward to racing athletes from across the country.”