By Chris Bavender
Eight years ago, Hamilton Southeastern math teacher and cross country Coach Joe Golden was looking for a way to promote fitness in the school district. So he decided to start the Liger XC – a one-mile youth run.
“I have two kids, and I thought it was important to promote running, health and fitness in our elementary and middle schools,” Golden said.
The race, scheduled for 5 p.m. Oct. 13, features six different age groups in male and female divisions from kindergarten to sixth grade.
Since its start, the Liger XC has grown rapidly – from approximately 150 kids the first year to 800 last year.
“And with the parents and everyone else we probably had about 3,000 people out on the course. It was pretty neat,” Golden said. “I would not say I was shocked – more like pleased. We’ve worked hard to promote it, and the PE teachers really have started to get on board with it.”
Golden said a lot of kids view running as a chore, but once they start, they quickly realize how “social and fun it is.”
“We do try to make it a fun environment for them. We have a mascot out there and play music, and then they start to see cross country running as more fun than they initially thought,” he said.
The event is promoted as a Hamilton Southeastern race, Golden said, but there is a category not associated with the school for other student runners to enter.
“It also serves as a service project for my kids on the high school cross country team,” he said. “And while we host the event and provide the bulk of the manpower, we do have help from the Fisher’s girls cross country team in managing the event.”
Pre-registration is $16. Same day registration is $20. For more, visit getmeregisterd.com.