Students descended upon Mackle Park — all wearing the appropriate school colors — to enter the MICMS Eagles/MIA Rays Cross Country Invitational. After some odd looking stretching and exercising on the field, they lined the start ready to race the clock — all 384 of them!
The annual meet attracted 12 middle schools and 16 high schools from around the region. Of course, they didn’t all start at once; there were five races: high school boys, high school girls, middle school boys, middle school girls and an open race. Middle school-aged runners had a course that was 3K, or 1.86 miles,while high school runners did a full 5K, or 3.1 miles.
The cross country meet is organized and hosted by Marco Island Charter Middle School and the Marco Island Academy under Athletic Director Roger Raymond. Roger, who has put the meet on for about 12 years, commented, “It has really taken off the last couple of years.”
Mackle Park is a great setting for the runners. Alex Galiana of the city of Marco Island Parks and Recreation Department guides the runners around the course by cart on the initial lap.
Cheered on by parents and coaches alike and with weather cooperating nicely, the runners went full steam and gave it their all. Check out coastalbreezenews.com for more information and results.