Great American Cross-Country Festival

Charlotte, NC and San Francisco, CA

The largest high-school team event in the United States

In 1999, Rick Hill and his son Richard, created the Great American Cross-Country Festival, a high school cross country race in Charlotte, NC.  The event, originally planned as a one-time competition among local high schools and several out of state powerhouses, was branded as the “Last great race of the century.” Interest in the event quickly grew and the majority of the nation’s top 25 teams came together to race head to head, a feat that have never been accomplished previously.

Bingham High School, from South Jordon, UT, won the meet’s premiere girl’s Race of Champions with the fastest average (5 runners) recorded time in the history of high school sports.  Alan Webb, an emerging runner from South Lakes, VA won the boy’s race in a course record to burst onto the national spotlight.  He went on to set the National High Mile record at 3:53.43.

cross-country

In the following years to event turned into a three-day festival and a total of 18 races.  Nike signed on as the major event sponsor and the festival took on the tag line: Nike’s Great Races of America.  The 2001 festival expanded to San Francisco’s, Golden Gate Park.  In 2002, the festival was sold to the National Scholastic Athletic Foundation.  In 2003, Rick and Richard Hill were recognized by the United States Track & Field Federation for their outstanding contributions to the sport of distance running.

Participants: 7,000
Teams:  800+ high school teams
Participating States: 43