Fall Cross Country Overview:
First Session: Sunday, August 28, 5:00pm
Last Session: October 30th, 2:00pm (SJTFC Cross Country Festival!)
Practice Days and Times: Sunday and Thursday at 5:00pm (all sessions are optional, no attendance commitment required). Please note that all dates and times can change based on outside circumstances.
New this season: One basic program for all participants 1st grade and up (rising 1st graders are eligible), and a pre-school program that meets one evening per week (kids turning 4 by 12/31/22 are eligible).
Competitive Team: All competitions are always optional. Kids who are motivated to compete will be invited to join our competitive team, and will meet on one additional weeknight, Tuesdays at 5:00pm. There is an additonal $40 fee that will help us cover most meets. There may be some meets where families must pay an additonal fee but we will try to keep this to a minimum. See eligibility details below (eligibility is not based on ability, but rather the child's own demonstrated motivation).
Locations: We will meet for sessions at Pennypacker Park in Haddonfield, Challenge Grove Park/Jake’s Place in Cherry Hill, and Cooper River Park in Pennsauken. A complete schedule with all days, times and locations will be posted before the start of the program.
Fee: We employ a tiered fee structure in order make our club as accessible as possible. You are free to select any of the three fees listed. The standard fee is the average amount we need to collect to sustain the club and make this program a success. The supporter fee is offered as an option if you would like to help subsidize the reduce fee, as well as our no fee option for families in need.
Basic Program: Reduced fee: $100, Standard fee: $125, Supporters fee: $150
Pre-School Program: Reduced fee: $50, Standard fee: $75, Supporters fee: $100
We employ a “couch-to-5K” type approach, beginning with short running intervals and walking recoveries, and gradually increasing our continuous running. All of our programs follow a fun-first approach, and we never push or force kids to run, but we do encourage them to develop an ability to work through some discomfort. With this in mind we employ lots of games, along with running for extended intervals. We place a strong emphasis on learning good running technique and mechanics, and incorporate drills and strength exercises into every practice. We believe that even our youngest athletes are capable of safely running long distances, and we gently encourage all of the kids to work up to a distane they are comfortable running, and to finish the season by participating in our all-ages (parents too!) Cross Country Festival. The Festival allows kids to choose a race distance from as short as 100m to a full 5K. This program will get your kid outside throughout the fall, enjoying the cooler weather, changing leaves, and the sheer joy of running on trails through the woods!
Fun and safe training are still priorities on the competitive team, and we will add a sophisticated season plan to help kids reach their potential. If your child is motivated to compete, they will be invited to join our competitive team. Please keep in mind that pushing kids before they are ready is a recipe for turning them away from running forever. There is no rush, and kids get to demonstrate thier interest throughout the season, and can join the competitive team at any time, regardless of ability.
Participants in this program are expected to attend the Tuesday sessions consistently, as they are more focused on performance training, and inconsistent attendance can increase the risk of injury. It is also expected that kids in this program will compete at some meets, but all competitions are always optional. Competition is approached as “learning to compete,” meaning that we participate in meets to learn about how to prepare for and engage in competition, practicing good sportsmanship, learning from success as well as failure, staying focused on the present, etc, as opposed to pushing for top times or places. As a club we celebrate all success, but it is not the focus of our programs.
The team schedule will focus on attending various meets in the South Jersey/Philadlephia area, mostly on Saturdays, from low-key dual/tri meets with our Garden State Track and Field Association clubs, a series at Philadelphia's Belmont Plateau, and some fun middle/high-school meets that younger kids can particpate in. There is also an opportunity to compete at higher levels through the USATF and AAU Junior Olympic qualifier meets and national championships.