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GOSHEN – When more than 1,500 runners descended on the Creasey-Mahan Nature Center Saturday to compete in the Rumble in the Jungle meet most of them had no idea all the work that went in before the meet took place.
Thanks to a small army of North Oldham parents and volunteers the meet went off without a hitch for the sixth year in a row.
“The volunteers we have for this meet are just great, you can’t say enough about them,” NOHS boys’ cross country coach Drew Lamaster said. “We have been doing this several years and I won’t say it gets easier because of the amount of work it takes, but it does get smoother.”
A corps of 75 parents worked this year’s meet coordinated by Lamaster and co-chair Melissa Horn.
“It’s a fairly big job,” Horn said. “From the concession stand to punching the kids’ tickets when they finish to course monitors and the water table. There are a lot of great people involved.”
Horn said the parents start meeting in June to plan the Rumble which has continued to grow every year. There are four meetings before the event and a lot of e-mails. An estimated 5,000 fans show up for the meet which starts with teams at the elementary school level right through some of the top high school teams in the state.
One of the biggest jobs is course maintenance. Unlike most courses, the route at the nature center winds through heavily wooded area.
“It’s one of the last true cross country courses instead of the kids just running loops in a big field,” Horn said. “We are always worried about the safety of the runners. We make three passes through the course to clean it up before we ever set anything up. Every (tree) root on the course is spray-painted so the runners know where they are.”
There are also medical personnel from the Oldham County EMS on hand at the meet.
“They stay all day,” Horn said. “That’s a wonderful group of guys and gals. They give us a lot of peace of mind.”
The finish line is also well staffed to insure the safety of the runners and keep them moving through the chutes so they can be placed in the right position for team scoring.
“One of the unique things we do is each kid gets a wet towel soaked in ice after the race if they want it,” Horn said.
Saturday’s race went off without a hitch.
“We’re proud of the meet and it really couldn’t happen without the parents and other volunteers,” Lamaster said. “They somehow make it all look easy.”
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