Approximately 5,000 high school athletes are expected to compete in the 15th annual Jesse Owens Cross Country Classic Invitational set for Saturday, October 5, 2013. Hosted by the Jesse Owens Runners’ Club, the race begins at 8:20 a.m. and is held on the championship course located on the grounds of the Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center.
The Jesse Owens Cross Country Classic brings junior high and high school students from all over the United States for a competitive race honoring one of Alabama’s greatest athletes. Born in 1913 in Oakville, Alabama, Jesse Owens captured four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin overcoming racial and socioeconomic barriers. In 1955, he was named Ambassador of Sports by President Eisenhower and toured the world promoting the virtues of amateur programs.
According to Race Director Stanley Johnson, nearly 5,000 high school runners from Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi competed in the 2012 event, setting a new record for entries. The race began in 1999 with approximately 450 participants.
The competition offers 14 divisions for boys and girls. The top 10 finishers in each division receive a special award with the overall winner in each division winning a trophy. Registration deadline is October 1, 2013. To register online, go to www.alabamarunners.com. For more information including race times and a schedule of events, visit http://alabamahighschoolrunner.com or call Coach Stanley Johnson at 256.566.4410.
The championship course is also great for spectators who want to witness competitive racing from the sidelines. Oakville Indian Mounds Education Center is located approximately 8 miles south of Moulton on Alabama Highway 157 and 1/2 mile from the Jesse Owens Memorial Park. Admission is free. A parking donation of $2 per car is suggested to help support the Education Center.