FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Winitz Pacific Association/USATF Communications Manager Tel: (650) 948-0618 Direct PACIFIC ASSOCIATION AND USATF WESTERN REGIONAL CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS ON SUNDAY FOLSOM, Calif. - November 15, 2007 - San Francisco's Golden Gate Park serves as the venue for the 22nd Annual Pacific Association/USA Track & Field Cross Country Championships this coming Sunday, November 18. The venerable event also hosts the USATF Western Regional Cross Country Championships. The event features an expected 450 competitors representing USATF club teams located within Pacific Association boundaries (northern California and northwest Nevada) and from the U.S. western region. Top club teams will proceed to the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships (December 8, West Chester, Ohio) as they vie for bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team. On Sunday, the women's race starts at 9:00 a.m., followed by masters men (age 40 and over) at 9:45 a.m., and open men at 11:00 a.m. All women compete over a challenging 4-mile course composed of grassy meadows, pedestrian trails, and bridle paths. All men compete over a 6-mile distance. All races start and finish at Lindley Meadow in Golden Gate Park (located at 30th Avenue and JFK Drive). Multiple loop courses for both men and women guarantee superb viewing opportunities for spectators. Among open women, the Oakland/Berkeley-based Transports adidas Racing Team will defend their 2006 USATF Western Region and PA/USATF titles. Also expected to field title-contending teams are Southern California-based See Jane Run, the two-time national club champions, the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area's Asics Aggies Running Club, and San Francisco's Impala Racing Team. See Jane Run, led by Shannon McConville (Hermosa Beach, Calif.) won the Southern California USATF Cross Country Championships on November 10. On the open men's side, Transports adidas, Asics Aggies, the Bay Area's West Valley Track Club, and Sacramento's River City Rebels are poised for title-vying performances. Last year, John "JT" Service (Asics Aggies, residence: San Jose, Calif.), and Magdalena Lewy Boulet (Transports adidas, Oakland, Calif.) were crowned individual USATF Western Region and PA/USATF open division titlists. This year, the men's field is too deep to call. On the women's side, Anita Giusti (West Valley Track Club, Mountain View, Calif.), a former Dutch national cross country team member, appears very fit, having already won four PA/USATF cross country races this season. Others to watch include Asics Aggies teammates Kara June (Santa Maria, Calif.) and Heather Gibson (Piedmont, Calif.). Top masters competitors include Jim Sorensen, 40, of Fremont, Calif. who set pending U.S. masters national records at 800 meters, 1,500m, and the mile distance this year on the track, and Rosemarie Lagunas, 45, of San Jose. The PA/USATF Cross Country Championships is the culminating race on the nine-event PA/USATF Cross Country Grand Prix circuit. Sunday's competition, which brings out the top competitors from all teams, might hold some significant changes in both the individual and team standings. PA/USATF conducts individual and team competition in age-group categories through age 70 and over. Some of the most inspiring performances occur in the older age divisions, as mature athletes, too, strive for the highest possible place to score for their team. "Cross country is primarily a club sport with people going really hard," said Meet Director Tim Wason, who has organized cross country races in San Francisco for 20 years. "It's a highly visual, group, family, and team sport. We have a group of people, many of them in their 50s, 60s, and older racing their hearts out for their [club] peers." In the 1980s, the Pacific Association and the San Francisco-based Pamakids Running Club brought two USATF cross country national championships to Golden Gate Park, distinguished by grassy meadows, a network of dirt trails, and a polo field looped by a large equestrian oval. In the 1990s, the Pacific Association's pioneer cross country Grand Prix circuit made Golden Gate Park a mainstay of harrier activity, not only for the association's hardy club competition, but as a host for club teams from throughout the west. Today, the PA/USATF Cross Country Championships, traditionally held in this park, are one of the largest and most competitive post-collegiate cross country races in the U.S. For more information about Pacific Association/USATF cross country programs, and for complete results following the race, visit www.pausatf.org. The Pacific Association is the largest member association of USA Track & Field (USATF). We serve northern California and northwestern Nevada. USATF is the National Governing Body for track and field, long distance running, and race walking in the United States. For more information about the Pacific Association, visit our Web site at www.pausatf.org.