High school, college teams take note: Online running competitions can’t replace real thing | Grand Rapids Sports – – MLive.com
High school, college teams take note: Online running competitions can’t replace real thingBy Howie Beardsley | The Grand Rapids PressNovember 17, 2009, 9:00AMGRAND RAPIDS — Nike Inc.’s second annual Nike Human Race recently attracted more than 1 million runners from more than 30 countries and included Belding as one of its 25 race sites.

The worldwide virtual extravaganza wasn’t staged solely to promote health and road racing. It was more about encouraging the sale of the Nike iPod Sport Kit, which, by having runners register with Nikeplus.com, allowed them to have their times compete online with registered participants around the world.

It’s a novel idea, fun and harmless.

That’s as long as it doesn’t catch on to be a ridiculous and modern-day way to allow, say, high school and college cross country teams to compete via the Internet while saving travel costs during these troublesome economic times.

Comstock Park cross country coach Steve Virkstis held an online virtual meet this season between the Panthers and a school in Huntersville, N.C., whose coach, Craig Zamiara, used to run for Virkstis.

“We thought it would be fun to do a virtual meet for the kids and have them compare their times while their two teams were being coached by two friends,” said Virkstis, a veteran marathon runner who competed in Boston and took part in the Nike race in Belding.

“Could this be a trend while trying to save costs within tough school district budgets? I don’t know. I guess I never thought of it as a way to replace head-to-head meets. It’s an interesting thought, since everyone’s times are now posted online.

“But I’d hate to see it take the place of seasons and actual competition with other teams on the same course or track.”

Categories: Track and Cross News

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