Avery Park is the home to the largest middle school cross country race in Oregon. The 11th Annual NW Middle School Cross Country Showdown took place on October 10 with hundreds of middle school athletes competing. The event is hosted by the Linus Pauling Middle School Cross Country program. Linus Pauling coach Gerhard Behrens shares that, “Every year, race organizers receive compliments on the beautiful course and its speed (if it’s dry), or its fun-filled slipperiness (if it’s wet). We had another great event this year!”
The course winds through the fields and trails of the park giving spectators multiple views of the race as it unfolds. Watching middle school athletes fly over the grassy expanse at the start/finish next to the Townsend Shelter is always colorful and inspiring.
The race is a celebration of community. The Heart of the Valley Runners, Corvallis’ local running club, pays for the use of the park and the finishers’ awards. The Willamette Valley Track and Field Fund, a philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting youth athletics, pays for the chip timing services and incidental expenses. Volunteers from HOTV, OSU Women’s Cross Country, OSU’s Cross Country Club Team, CHS and CVHS cross country teams, and parents work as course monitors, finish area attendants, and set up/clean up crews. Nearly 150 Corvallis School District middle school students compete in this annual event.