50 Years of Fun

Cross Country Events

We expect to have a “Meet the Coaches” night prior to the start of practices. This is an informal, non-mandatory event that allows athletes and families to come and meet our coaches and answer questions they may have before the season begins.

The fall cross country season starts in the beginning of September. We know that many families are scrambling to establish back-to-school routines, so if your child is unable to attend any of the initial practices, that is not a problem. We can get you and your child up-to-speed when they come to practice.


We encourage all of our runners to compete at their official age-appropriate distance, declared by USA Track and Field (USATF). Some runners, though, may need a race or two at a shorter distance to get to that level.

At our home meets, we allow runners of any age to compete in any distance they choose, including multiple events. For awards, all athletes are separated into the age divisions so runners are only competing against others in their age group. At away meets, athletes are typically required to run the age appropriate race distances used by USATF or as the meet directors determine.

2016 USATF National Age Divisions and Respective Race Distances:

Age Division

Year of Birth


Approx. Distance in Miles

8 & Under




9 – 10




11 – 12




13 – 14




15 – 16




17 – 18




* Per USATF Rule 300.1 (c) “Athletes must be at least seven (7) years of age on December 31 of the current year to compete at the Youth Athletics or Junior Olympic National Championships.”

** Athletes who are still 18 through the final day of the USATF National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships are eligible to compete in the 17-18 age division through that meet. This extended eligibility does not apply to cross country events.

For our regular season smaller local meets, the youngest runners are further broken out from the 7 and 8 year old age group to create a separate “6 & Under” age division at the 1K race distance. The 6 & Under age group is not an official USATF age group, but encourages the youngest runners by reducing their peer group.

Age Division Name

Birth Year

Age at the End of the Year (December 31, 2012)

(K = kilometer)

Approximate Distance in Miles

6 & U

born in 2010 or after

age 6 and under



7 – 8

born in 2008-2009

ages 7 – 8



*There is no 6 & Under age group for Junior Olympics competition. The youngest age division is 8 & Under, which includes age 8 and younger runners at the 2K race distance. Note that for USATF, runners must be 7 by the end of the calendar year to compete at Youth Athletics or the Junior Olympic National Championships.

Cross Country Coaches National Youth Championships (CCCNYC) does allow 6 year olds to compete at their championship cross country race in the 2K distance. Please see the AGE GROUPINGS and the EXTENDED SEASON/NATIONAL COMPETITIONS tabs for more information.

There is a running log that is available for runners to keep track of their progress and distance run. Runners can update it throughout the fall. Coaches can give kids estimates of distances run at practice. This is for fun and we will collect them at the end of the season. Everyone who reaches certain age-appropriate mileage levels over the course of the season will receive special recognition.

Download: (PDF) fpyc-xc-2016-running-log




8 and Under


13.1 total miles

9 through 12


26.2 total miles

13 and Older

“ultra marathon”

50.0 total miles



There is something to be said for the familiarity and perceived advantage of a home soccer pitch, running track, or basketball court. But in the end, the dimensions and playing surfaces for these sports are relatively consistent.

That is certainly NOT the case for cross country running. Every course is different in many ways:

layout (loop(s) vs. “out-and-back” vs. “point-to-point”);
surface (grass vs. dirt vs. gravel or crushed stone vs. paved blacktop);
geography (meadow vs. woods);
terrain (flat vs. hilly) –

Most challenging and fun courses have a little of all of these elements.

Course walks are offered at the beginning of most meets, but it really pays off for runners to have a practice or two on the courses prior to their races. Our schedule includes pre-race practices on all courses in the central Fairfax area. While this strategy counts on the extra planning and patience of parents, knowing a course really instills confidence in the runner for their race. It eliminates the biggest variable contributing to pre-race anxiety.

Providence Park General Map
The yellow line is the full race course loop (minus start and finish areas on the field).
The course is broken into smaller red, green, purple and blue loops which are utilized as practice areas. /files/providence%20practice%20areas%202012.jpg

Daniels Run Park Race Course Map
All distances 1K-5K start and finish on the field behind Daniels Run Elementary School /files/daniels%20run%202009.jpg

Van Dyck Park Race Course Maps
1K: Preamble lap around the bowl (40m); one short loop (1K); finish on field /files/van%20dyck%201k.jpg

2K: One long loop (2K); finish on field /files/van%20dyck%202k.jpg

3K: Preamble lap around the bowl (160m); one short loop (1K); one long loop (2K); finish on field /files/van%20dyck%203k.jpg

4K: Preamble lap around the bowl (120m); 2 long loops (2K); finish on field /files/van%20dyck%204k.jpg

5K: Preamble lap around the bowl (280m); one short loop (1K); two long loops (2K); finish on field /files/van%20dyck%205k.jpg