It is less than a month to go until the Heps Cross Country Championships, being held for the first time on Princeton’s athletic campus (let us know if you’re planning to attend by checking out the Facebook event page). All of the teams have competed at this point, giving alumni plenty to “talk” about amongst themselves. The main discussion is on who they think will win both team and individual titles at Heps.
But instead of focusing on that quite yet, we pose another question for discussion — If Heps alumni came out to race against each other at a 5k distance (any alumnus, including the coaches, sprinters, jumpers and throwers), who would win?
Would anyone want to find out?
Mary Boggs wondered about this earlier in the season after seeing the Harvard-Yale annual meet results, which included an alumni race. Twenty-one recent graduates competed in an open 5k. According to Harvard Coach Jason Saretsky, the alumni race was held previously in 2009 when the annual HY duel was held at Boston’s Franklin Park.
“The motivation came from hosting a cross country reunion two years ago and it seemed worth having again. I wouldn’t say we had a big turnout this year, but it has generally been well received. I’d like to keep having these when we host [at Franklin Park] in two years time.” he said.
Boggs asked both Saretsky and Yale Coach Dave Shoehalter about their thoughts on such a race being held for all Ivy League alumni. They both believed there was such a race on the day of Heps back about 20 years ago.
“When I was in school, I believe there use to be an alumni race before Heps. My sense is it is hard enough to get spectators out and adding another race just lengths the duration of the meet so I am not sure how viable it is at Heps but I could be totally wrong,” said Saretsky.
“If I remember correctly, in the mid-1990a there was an attempt at an ‘alumni race’ at Heps, and there wasn’t a very large turnout,” said Shoehalter. “Not sure if that might change a bit in this day and time with the advent of social media.”
The Ivy League athletic directors voted to focus solely on the varsity championships, eliminating the tradition of jayvee races in 2001.
Do you think that having an alumni race on the same day as Heps is something you would want to participate in or watch? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.