Get to state XC meet early

The state cross-country meet in Ft. Dodge, which will be taking place this weekend, is a great event to experience. So why not get there a little early to make sure you won?t miss out?

The state meet will be held this Saturday, Oct. 29, at Lakeside Municipal Golf Course, which is located just north of Ft. Dodge on Highway P56.

This year?s meet will begin with the two Class 4A races, with the 4A girls starting at 11 a.m., and the 4A boys starting at 11:30 a.m.

Mt. Pleasant?s races are not scheduled to start until noon, when Abby Ryon and the 3A girls run at 12 p.m. Defending 3A boys? champion, Logan Murray, and the rest of the Panther boys will be running right after that, at 12:30 p.m.

The smaller schools won?t be running until later in the evening, with the 1A girls going at 2 p.m., and the 1A boys? going at 2:30 p.m.

Because of the times, many fans of Henry County runners may be planning on getting to the course about 20-30 minutes before their race is about to start, a completely reasonable idea during the regular season, but I strongly urge you to reconsider.

Due to insufficient parking at Lakeside, many fans who show up later than the early morning rush will likely be forced to park on the street. Even if you are going extra early, you may find yourself unable to fit in the parking lots, which come with a $10 parking fee.

Because of the vast number of cars who will have to park on the road, traffic coming into the meet will likely be backed up big time.

At last year?s meet, a flood of fans were forced to park so far away from the course that they were forced to run from their parking spot to the meet in order to get there on time.

The more unfortunate fans who chose to wait in a line of cars to try and get into the parking lot had to wait in a traffic jam until they could get to the course.

Luckily for me, the wife and I chose to go early as the 1A runners were up first, but even we found ourselves running with the crowd as the first race began to line up.

My advice to everyone is to get up and go as early as you possibly can. You don?t want to be jammed up with only minutes to get to the meet, and if you choose to get there right on time, you will likely miss most, if not all, of the race you came to see.

There are plenty of benefits to getting to the meet early. You can park close, you can have some time to relax and you can even scope out the course to see the best places to watch from.

Even if you don?t know any runners in the 4A races, you can have plenty of fun watching them compete for a state title.

If you have to get there a little later and the traffic jam has already started, just park and go. If you are able to walk, it is probably going to be much faster to take the stroll than wait in traffic.

For those who are up for the extra hike, it might not be a horrible idea to park at one of the other parking lots along Highway P56. It?s quite the walk, but Rogers Athletic Complex (the state softball fields) should have plenty of space, as long as the spots aren?t blocked off.

So in conclusion, if you plan on making the long trip to Ft. Dodge this weekend, you might as well make it an hour earlier than you originally planned. Being a little too early is always better than being a little too late.