The Road Runners Club of America has awarded the 2010 5K national championship to a race in Lakeland, Fla.
The RRCA made Woodstock this year’s national race for the 5K distance, and top RRCA brass said the Anniston race stood a good chance of retaining the national designation next year.
Woodstock organizers have spent the past year putting the bow tie on this year’s event, set for Aug. 1, and race coordinator Brooke Nelson had applied for next year’s national designation.
Before Woodstock organizers got the chance to woo RRCA brass with this year’s race, the RRCA selected Lakeland. The RRCA’s national convention is set for the same time frame there.
“Because of our extreme success, commitment to the event, dedication to organization, we had been led to believe it was a done deal for us to host it again (in 2010),” Nelson said Wednesday.
“However, we didn’t know that tradition has it that, wherever the RRCA national convention is held, the local race receives the national championship designation for whatever distance that race is.”
Woodstock organizers can apply for the 2011 national designation.
“When it’s time, we’ll fill out the paperwork to host the 2011 national championship,” Nelson said.
She has applied for the 2010 Southern Region 5K championship. Woodstock served as the Southern 5K championship in 2008.
The past three years have seen the Woodstock grow from a local race to the RRCA’s state 5K championship (2007), the Southern Region 5K championship (2008) and this year’s national 5K event.
A year ago, top RRCA brass gave local organizers reason to look beyond this year for the national designation.
“They’ve done a state championship for the RRCA (in 2007),” then-selection committee chairmain Don Kardong told The Star in July of last year. “The regional championship will be there this year, and then the national (in 2009).
“So, if they continue to do a good job, I think there’s a good chance that they could continue beyond next year.”
RRCA executive director Jean Knaack, a former Anniston resident, said then that RRCA leadership liked the idea of allowing national championships to stay put, at least for a couple of years.
Nelson said learning that the RRCA awarded the 2010 national 5K race to Lakeland disappointed her “for a moment,” but she doesn’t see it as a blow.
“Woodstock is going to be fine,” she said. “While it’s nice to have a championship title, I truly believe our race will continue to grow, whether we ever host another RRCA championship or not, due to our commitment to improving it year after year.”