TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 25, 2016) – After a national search, the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) awarded its 2016 AAU Cross Country National Championship to Leon County’s Apalachee Regional Park.
One of eight AAU Athletics national championship events held across the country each year, the 2016 AAU Cross Country National Championships will be held Saturday, December 3. The more than 100-acre park serves as the home course for the Florida State University men’s and women’s cross country teams and is the site of numerous state and regional collegiate and high school meets.
“Leon County is proud to host the 2016 AAU Cross Country National Championships”, said Leon County Administrator, Vincent S. Long. “For Leon County, hosting this national event demonstrates our commitment to providing exceptional facilities and services to our citizens and visitors alike.”
The announcement was made jointly by AAU Athletics National Chair Charles Oliver, Leon County Division of Tourism Development (Visit Tallahassee) Director of Sports Brian Hickey and Leon County Parks and Recreation Director Leigh Davis.
“We were very impressed with the course at Apalachee Regional Park, the staff’s expertise and overall operation of the meet there,” Oliver said. “We are very excited about AAU athletes competing at Apalachee Regional Park.”
Oliver and several members of the AAU staff inspected the course last fall when the county hosted the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) championships for the fourth consecutive year.
Hickey estimates the meet will attract more than 3,000 visitors to the area for the weekend.
“We anticipate 1,300 runners plus their families and friends” Hickey said. ““We’re proud of the achievement in hosting the meet because of the national prestige that it brings to Apalachee Regional Park and our county. In addition to participating in the meet, the runners and their families can also enjoy the Winter Festival and Market Days that same weekend.”
The AAU runners, age 5-18, will compete in various age divisions on courses covering from 1K to 5K.
Apalachee Regional Park hosted four major cross country meets last fall including the FHSAA and Atlantic Coast Conference championships. The community realized nearly $4 million in direct spending from teams and spectators from those meets.
Davis noted that the park, one of the few in the nation designed for competitive cross country running events, is also a popular spot for jogging, hiking and mountain biking.
About the Amateur Athletic Union:
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is one of the largest, non-profit and volunteer sports organizations in the country. As a multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. Founded in 1888 to establish standards and uniformity in sports, the AAU philosophy of “Sports For All, Forever” is now shared by more than 600,000 members and 60,000 volunteers nationwide.
About Leon County Division of Tourism Development (Visit Tallahassee):
Funded by taxes on local hotels and short-term lodging facilities, Visit Tallahassee promotes tourism to the area through direct sales, advertising, public relations, sports, film, product development and visitor services. For more information, visit www.VisitTallahassee.com or call toll free (800) 628-2866