Survey says: Most support longer race
A majority of Minnesota high school cross-country coaches, especially those in Class 2A, support increasing the length of races for girls to 5,000 meters. But a survey also found some trepidation, especially among coaches at smaller schools, about the effect it could have on participation.
5K support: Slightly more than half of Class 1A coaches support lengthening the race for girls running varsity and junior varsity. Support was even stronger — approaching 70 percent — among Class 2A coaches.
Shorter distance not a disadvantage: Most coaches said top female runners who could eventually race at the collegiate level were not at a disadvantage racing at shorter distances, but Class 2A coaches were less emphatic. About 45 percent of big-school coaches said girls were at a disadvantage, compared to only 30 percent of Class 1A coaches.
Longer races mean fewer runners? About half of Class 1A coaches said participation would be significantly affected if races were lengthened, compared to one out of four coaches in Class 2A.
Readiness to race, gender equity: About 80 percent of coaches in both classes said they believed girls are physically able to race 5,000 meters, the standard distance of boys’ races in the state. They also generally agreed, by a 3-1 margin, that race distance is not an issue of gender equity.
Source: Based on 80 responses of coaches surveyed by Minnesota Cross Country Coaches Association