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Cross country team ready to bust off summer rust

Published: Monday, September 3, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 02:09


Photos by Nick Burns

The Rust-Buster, held on Sept. 8, gives local cross country teams and runners a chance to compete before the season begins.

     Even though cross country teams routinely put in hundreds of miles over the summer, they never know exactly what they’ll look like until they bust off the competition rust in the year’s first meet. And that is precisely the point of the Cross Country Rust-Buster.

     The Cross Country Rust-Buster event is an annual race that gives runners the chance to warm up and show off what they can do before the season gets underway. The Rust-Buster is scheduled for Sept. 8.

     Mark Misch and David Harmer, two cross country head coaches at UCCS, came up with the idea for the yearly meet. It operates similarly to other cross country meets but is not scored and does not last as long as championship meets.

     The race is in its fifth year and has competitors from UCCS, Mines, Colorado College and Pueblo, among other schools. Last year, 135 men and 94 women competed in the run.

     Having it stationed at UCCS this year has its advantages. It cuts travel costs for the UCCS team and adds revenue for the school, acting as a fundraiser by bringing in spectators from around the state.

     Since meets are never set in stone ahead of time, by sending out a monthly breakdown of locations, a successful showing could bring more meets back to Colorado Springs and enhance UCCS’ hosting reputation.

     “There is a real potential for the cross country team to grow,” said Jared Verner, assistant athletic director for sports information, who transferred to UCCS from Western State. “It's definitely going to stick around,” he said.

     To prepare for the Rust-Buster and meets throughout the season, practices are held nearly every day, but there are limitations as to how many hours of practice can be put in per week.

     Practices are usually held in the mornings, and practice runs are rotated. Some might be more endurance-based, while others might focus on changing elevations and terrains.

     The Rust-Buster allows not just team members but also open-runners to compete for a fee of $15. The deadline to sign up for the run is Tuesday, Sept. 4. You can sign-up to run at

     While there won't be trophies awarded for the best runners, T-shirts will be given out to those that finish on top.

     Though the prospects for the upcoming cross country season might yet be murky, it won’t be long until the rust is busted and the season begins in earnest.

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