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Huntsville welcomes premier cross-country championship event

Published on December 3, 2021

More than 2,300 of the world’s best youth runners will compete Saturday in the Garmin RunningLane Cross-Country Championships at John Hunt Park’s Cross-Country Course.

“These are the best 18-and-under cross-country runners in the nation,” said Huntsville City Administrator John Hamilton. “That means they are here with their families, friends and coaches enjoying a memorable weekend here in Huntsville. This is one of the fastest courses in the nation and we hope to see some big records fall here this weekend.”

There are other benefits associated with the event. According to the Huntsville Sports Commission, more than $2.5 million in local economic impact is expected from this event. Over 80% of those competing or attending this elite cross-country event will stay overnight at least one night.

“We could see more than 8,000 people visiting Huntsville before the weekend is over,” Hamilton said. “In terms of the number of competitors, this is one of the largest youth sporting events Huntsville has ever hosted. We are so proud they have selected our championship-level facility to host their event.”

Economic benefits from the event are also aided by Huntsville’s service industry. From lodging to shopping to dining, the workers and businesses are reaping the rewards. For example, the City anticipates more than $1 million in lodging and dining sales resulting from the event.

“We want the visitors to have a good experience the entire time they are in the City,” said Huntsville Sports Commission Director Mark Russell. “Whether they are on the course, in a restaurant or just enjoying downtown, when you see a runner in town, please be sure to welcome them.”

About the event

RunningLane, a Huntsville-based cross-country coaching organization, is hosting the national championships for the second straight year. RunningLane, in cooperation with the City of Huntsville, Huntsville Sports Commission, Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Orthopedic Center, HEMSI, Huntsville International Airport and national sponsor, Garmin, has helped make Huntsville a target destination for the nation’s best cross-country stars.

Heats launch twice an hour beginning at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. The Gold Division races for girls and boys will launch at 10:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectfully. Admission and parking are free to the public. For more details on the event, visit HuntsvilleSports.org.