Youth races help kick off 2015 Oregon cross country season

There will be three youth running opportunities at the 10th annual Bill Dellinger Invitational on Pre's Trail at Alton Baker Park on Friday. There will be a sign-up tent at the meet for same-day registration. (TrackTown photo)

EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon men’s and women’s cross country teams kick off the 2015 season at the 10th annual Bill Dellinger Invitational on Pre’s Trail at Alton Baker Park on Friday.

The Ducks take on Pacific Northwest rivals Gonzaga and Portland State in the women’s 6,000-meter race at 6:10 p.m., followed by the men’s 8,000-meter competition at 6:45 p.m. Oregon junior Edward Cheserek, the reigning two-time NCAA cross country champion, headlines the men’s race, while redshirt freshman Sarah Baxter makes her highly anticipated debut for the UO women.

But it won’t just be collegians on the course.

Before those races even begin, there will be three fun and low-key running opportunities for local youth:

  • Elementary School Mile at 5:15 p.m.
  • Middle School 2.5K at 5:30 p.m.
  • Kids’ Dash (about 200 meters) for children 12-and-under at 5:50 p.m.

A record total of 170 youngsters have already signed up for those races. In addition, there will be a sign-up tent for same-day registration near the Pre’s Trail course at Alton Baker Park.

“That’s more kids than we’ve ever seen before,” said Kim McManus, supervisor for the City of Eugene Recreation Services. “I’m excited to see them all come out and enjoy the sun, be active and get Pre’s Trail warmed up for the Ducks. I have no doubt there will be plenty of energy to go around for everyone.”

At the conclusion of the meet, UO runners will be available to sign autographs.