Running Bears Set to Host 9th Annual Mercer RunFit Sports Invitational Cross Country Meet on Saturday
MACON, Ga. – Mercer University's cross country program is preparing to host the ninth annual Mercer RunFit Sports Invitational on Saturday (Sept. 18) at the Georgia Industrial Children's Home. The meet is expected to draw upwards of 1,500 total participants for its ten races.
The featured races for MU will be the men's collegiate 8K at 9 a.m., followed by the women's collegiate 5K at 9:40 a.m. A total of 17 colleges are expected to attend. In addition to host Mercer, other schools will include: Andrew College, Armstrong Atlantic, Brewton-Parker, Clark-Atlanta, Darton College, Georgia College and State University, Georgia Military College, Gordon College, LaGrange College, Paine College, Reinhardt College, Savannah College of Art & Design, University of Montevallo, Valdosta State, Wesleyan College and Young Harris College.
Around 30 high schools are expected to participate, according to Mercer head cross country coach Ryan Bailey.
"I have three goals with regard to this meet," Bailey said. "The first goal is to provide a first-class collegiate meet right here in Macon. The second goal is to have a meet where the public and private school associations can compete in a same-course, same-day situation. In Georgia the different associations don't compete head-to-head, so I designed the meet that allows the best runners from each association to compete under the same conditions. It allows for some interesting comparisons.
"The third goal is to raise a little money for the Georgia Industrial Children's Home. They are extremely gracious to allow us to train and race on their campus. I also believe in what they are doing there. They are providing a stable environment for kids who really need that. I feel it's important to support their mission."
The meet actually begins at 8 a.m. with the middle school boys' race, followed by the middle school girls (using a staggered start at 8:25 a.m.). Both middle school distances are 2.6 miles. That will be followed by the two collegiate races.
At 10:15 a.m., the GHSA girls' 5K steps off, followed by the GISA girls race at 10:50 a.m. The GHSA boys' 5K event is at 11:25 a.m., preceding the GISA boys at 11:55 a.m.
The GHSA boys' junior varsity 5K takes place at 12:30 p.m., with the GHSA girls' junior varsity 5K finalizing the day's events at 1 p.m.
"I really feel good about the event this year," Bailey continued. "We have made a few changes and I think the meet will go very smoothly. First Presbyterian Day school is my meet partner this year and I think they are doing a great job. FPD has been hosting large events on the Children's Home course for several years now and understand what it takes to make a meet run.
"RunFit Sports has been the sole meet sponsor in the last couple of years. Even after the economy took a down-turn, they stood by us. I'm proud to have them as our major sponsor. No other local store can match them for service or knowledge. Perry Slaughter and his crew work very hard to make sure my athletes are in the right shoes and that my coaching needs are met. RunFit is an indispensible resource for me"
For more meet information, please visit the Mercer University athletics web site at: www.MercerBears.com and click on cross country.