The Ridgway Cross Country Invitational returns to the FSG Elementary School course on Saturday after not being held last year due to COVID-19.
"I'm so glad it's coming back," said Elkers head coach Holly Morelli. "It's going to be exciting to see everybody back on the course again. It's in great shape thanks to Marlin Konen, who does a great job managing it."
According to the Ridgway coach, 20 teams were registered as of Wednesday for the Varsity and Junior High races.
"A lot of work and behind the scenes things goes into hosting it, but it helps; we've been doing this for the past few years. It's helped me know what to expect, and with Marlin's help and the help of the parents, we've been able to pull things off," Morelli said.
She also urges spectators to show up. Food and merchandise will be available.
"It's a great spectator course. You can see your runners several times, and you don't have to be in great shape to do it like at some courses where you have to climb up hills and head into the woods just to get a look," Morelli said with a laugh. "I hope we get a lot of spectators, parents, grandparents, and we're encouraging everybody to come out to support the kids."
Money raised at the Invite goes towards the squad to help with Senior Day, send the team to districts, and the end-of-year banquet.
The event is also an excellent way for runners to get accustomed to the course, which will host the District 9 Championships on Saturday, Oct. 30. They were held last year at Brookville after being held at FSG in the past.
"I think our Invite has always been a success because everybody wants to get on the course since they're coming back for districts. It's a great way for them to get a feel for where they're at. A survey was put out about where to hold districts, and I guess it was all Ridgway, so that makes us feel good about our facility," Morelli said.
While masks won't be required outdoors, they will be inside the school where the concession and merchandise will be.
"In the building, we're going to ask people to respect the COVID rules to make everybody feel more comfortable," Morelli said.
Rain or shine, the racing gets underway at 10 a.m., with things ending around 12:30 p.m., followed by the award ceremony.