Green Flash Youth Cross Country Team — Questions?
WHO CAN JOIN THE GREEN FLASH?
The program is open to all BME RC youth runners ages 5 to 18. Youth runners must be BME RC members (annual membership) to join the Green Flash team.
IS GREEN FLASH CROSS COUNTRY YEAR-ROUND?
No, the Green Flash Youth Cross Country Team is a special 4-month (Mid-August to early December) program just for youth runners (ages 5 to 18).
To join the Green Flash team, youth must have an annual membership in the BME Family Running Distance Running Club (BME RC), which provides year-round distance running training for members.
During the fall, youth runners ages 7 and older, upon Coach Darcy’s recommendation, may also participate in the weekly BME RC community training group runs/workouts. During the winter, spring, and summer, youth ages 7 and older can participate in the BME RC community workouts.
WHAT DOES THE FEE INCLUDE?
The Green Flash team membership fee of $100 includes a uniform, practice location access, team insurance, and membership in a national youth running organization (e.g., AAU, USATF, Y.E.S). Travel, food, and accommodation for competition are not included in the fee. All membership fees must be paid prior to participating in practice. The Green Flash youth cross country program runs for four months from mid-August to early December. Note that to join the Green Flash cross country team, youth must also have a general BME RC annual membership.
WHO ARE THE COACHES?
Dr. Darcy Strouse (Coach Darcy) is the head coach of the Green Flash team and the director of BME RC. She is a registered USATF coach who has received elite distance runner coaching training. All Green Flash assistant coaches are experienced distance runners who have been running with one of Coach Darcy’s distance running programs and/or serving as a Lightning Running Club youth XC coach during the past five years (or more!).
WHAT FORM OF COMMUNICATION IS USED BY THE CLUB TO REACH PARENTS AND ATHLETES?
We will communicate via the BME RC Facebook account. Additional communication will go to parents from the coaching staff via firstname.lastname@example.org (please make sure it is a safe address and that these messages don’t end up in your junk mail or spam folders).
ARE THERE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES REQUIRED BY THE ATHLETE?
The athletes and parents are responsible for the cost of travel and all meet registration and competition fees. For some regional and national meets and road races, BME RC will collect meet registration fees and forms from parents and the coaching staff will enter the Green Flash athletes into the meet/race. The entry fee for cross country league meets is typically $5 to $7 per athlete.
Additional Green Flash team apparel (sweatshirts, warm-up pants, long sleeve performance shirt) are available for purchase online. All proceeds benefit BME RC running programs.
A good pair of running shoes should also be purchased (new each season!) for the runner. This pair of shoes be devoted to the runner’s training and should not be worn as school shoes.
WHAT RUNNING GEAR DOES MY CHILD NEED?
Your athlete will need a pair of athletic running shoes for practice and competition. Running shoes represent the only safety gear a runner and matching the correct shoe to each runner’s foot type and stride mechanics can make a big difference in injury prevention. Upon request, Dr. Strouse, will provide personal consultation on running shoe recommendations. During the summer, prior to the start of the Green Flash cross country season, she will hold one or two Running Shoe Recommendation Clinics at local parks.
Athletes also need appropriate running attire which includes running shorts and long and short-sleeved shirts. As the weather gets cooler, athletes will need warm-up pants and tops — and starting in late October, running tights, hats, and gloves. We recommend that they keep their muscles as warm as possible before and after they run for injury prevention. Green Flash warm-ups and short -and long-sleeve performance shirts are available for purchase.
Runners should bring water to practices and meets.
Please put your child’s name on all belongings, including water bottles.
WHERE CAN I BUY RUNNING SHOES AND OTHER GEAR?
For purchasing running shoes and other gear, runners can visit local running stories:
If the Shoe Fits in Frederick -
Fleet Fleet in Gaithersburg-
However, many of the shoes Coach Darcy recommends for youth runners are not available in local stores. They most often can be found online at:
Zappos (free shipping, free returns):
Running Warehouse (free shipping, free returns):
Amazon (often free shipping, free returns if you have Amazon Prime):
WHAT ARE THE PRACTICE TIMES AND WHERE?
Practices (August - December) for the fall Green Flash Youth Cross Country team will be held at Kemptown Park in Monrovia on Tuesday and Thursday evening, starting at 6:00 PM. Youth runners ages 12 and older may also participate in the weekly BME RC community training workouts.
During the last month of the season (November to early December) we may also hold Green Flash practices at a local middle school (parking lot track) like Urbana Middle School (UMS).
We will only cancel practice if the weather conditions are not safe for running — severe thunderstorms, ice, and/or snow. We do run in the rain and snow, as long as conditions are safe!
ARE PRACTICES MANDATORY?
Practices are not mandatory. However, the more practices an athlete attends, the more they will benefit from the program.
WHAT ARE GREEN FLASH PRACTICES LIKE?
The Green Flash Youth Cross Country Team is targeted to youth of all fitness, experience, and ability levels. We follow a phased training approach that focuses on endurance and strength (e.g., through distance running and hill work and core exercises) during the first half of the season and turnover (speed development) and race pace developmentduring the second half of the season. Our youth athletes train in coed age-groups (e.g., 5/6 year olds, 7/8 year olds, 9/10 year olds, 11/12 year olds, 13/14 year olds, 15 to 18 year olds). These age-groups match with their cross country competition age-groups (see the Competition Schedule FAQ below). In general, our age-group training is geared toward the developmental age of the athlete and takes into considering the growing child (e.g., bone growth, progression in muscle development, male and female maturational changes, developmental changes in self-esteem and self-concept).
Each practice will include warm-up activities (warm-up run, dynamic stretching, drills), a workout, and cool down activities (cool down run, static stretching and drills). An important goal of the practices is to make distance running fun while still challenging team members to push themselves as they work towards increasing their fitness level and running skills. Workouts across all age-groups will frequently involve running games—and we often play “full team” running games.
WHAT IS THE COMPETITION/MEET SCHEDULE LIKE?
This is forthcoming! A team calendar will be distributed and posted on the website as it is developed. In general, the Green Flash will be participate in league youth cross country meets from mid-September to early November. These meets are almost always on Sundays, starting at about 1:00 PM with course walks (these are important for cross country!). Most league meets last about 3.5 hours with the younger (5/6 year olds) runners competing first. We will compete in approximately five to seven league meets during the season. We will also sometimes replace a league cross country meet with another distance running event, like a road race.
It is important to note, that aside from our own, home meet, the league meets are for youth ages five to 14. The Green Flash team is open to 15 to 18 year olds; this age-group will not compete in league meets but in open (runners of all ages participate)cross country meets and road races in the tri-state area (MD, DC, VA). Regional and national youth competition includes races for 15 to 18 year olds. Table 1 profiles the race/competition distance for each age-group. Competition age-group is determined by age on the last day of December in the current year. For example, in 2015 a runner who was born on 12/15/2006 will race as an 9 year old (and complete a 3 km race), even though they are 8 years old on the first day of practice.
During November and early December, the Green Flash will compete in regional and national cross country meets. The national meet we attend (this can vary from year to year) will most often be on one of the last weekends of November or on one of the first weekends in December.
We encourage youth to participate in regional and national competition and our cross country runner have garnered national awards in both individual and age-group team (teams of 5 to 8 runners within an age-group (see Table 2) with the team score calculated by summing the places of the top 5 runners for the team.)
Table 1. Cross Country Race Distances by Age-Group
15 - 18
* Age as December 31 of current year.
1 km (.62 mile)
2 km (1.24 mile)
3 km (1.86 mile)
3 km (1.86 mile)
4 km (2.48 mile)
5 km (3.1 mile)
WHAT IS THE WEATHER POLICY FOR PRACTICE AND COMPETITION?
For training, we will only cancel practice if the weather conditions are not safe for running — severe thunderstorms, ice, and/or snow. We do run in the rain and snow, as long as conditions are safe! Parents should use their own judgement as to weather they feel comfortable with their child practicing in inclement weather conditions.
Cross country meets are very rarely cancelled and, typically, only cancelled if conditions are unsafe.
We will communicate practice cancellations via our Facebook page.
MAY PARENTS WATCH PRACTICE?
Yes, parents may watch practice and/or volunteer to help! Parents are also encouraged to walk on the trails at the parks we train at—and/or join BME RC themselves! For more information on becoming a Green Flash volunteer, please email email@example.com.
WHAT DO PARENT VOLUNTEERS DO?
Green Flash needs parents who can assist during practice and meets. For our practices, we need parents who can take turns as “crossing guards” at the a busy road crossing in the park (most of our training loops cross here). This is a critical, safety need for the team. During the season, Coach Darcy also sends out requests for parents to help with special team events, such as the “Halloween Practice.”
For our meets, we need parents to help out with meet administration tasks such as course monitoring, assisting with the finish line, working registration, working concessions, etc. We highly encourage ALL parents to get involved!
HOW DO I SIGN UP?
BME RC membership and Green Flash registration is available at RunSignUp!
WHAT IS THE CANCELLATION/REFUND POLICY?
BME RC does not grant membership or event refunds. If a special circumstance comes up within the first two weeks of registering for a BME RC program, please email the BME RC Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to cancel practices and events at our discretion or when a matter might be out of our control.