Could’new’ sport revitalize the region?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Though football season has arrived, and everyone is donning their school colors and showing their team spirit, there are other sports to consider as well, and that is something Birmingham businessman Law Lamar wants to address.

Lamar has worked to bring a cross-country track meet to the Black Belt this Saturday.

“There will be a cross-country meet in Moundville at the park, and

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I believe it is the first cross-country meet to be held in the Black Belt area,” Lamar said.

The meet will be attended by nearly 200 athletes and their families, including two teams from Mississippi – Northeast High School and West Lauderdale High School – and teams from Auburn High School, Bear Bryant High School and Northside High School from Tuscaloosa, Mountain Brook and others.

“It’s a way to introduce the sport to the Black Belt and those athletes and their families will probably be eating in Moundville and shopping in Moundville,” Lamar said.

The course will wind in and around the mounds, and during the last 25 yards will run up the side of one of the mounds, ending with the finish line on the top of the Mound.

“It’s going to be a real interesting course,” he said. “It’s an unofficial Alabama versus Mississippi.”

Lamar said he wants residents within the Black Belt area to know the benefits and joys of running cross-country.

“My daughters ran track – even though they run individually, it’s still a team sport,” he said. “Everyone that isn’t running stands on the sidelines and cheers on their teammate.”

He said a study has also shown that some of the highest GPAs among student athletes are cross-country runners.

“It’s a very disciplined sport,” he said.

The event will begin Saturday, Sept. 25 at 9:30. The junior high teams will begin at 9:30 and senior high teams will start at 10:15. The races will include girls high school teams and boys high school teams.