The most important course in the state will play host to a meet that has risen dramatically in stature over the past 3 years.
Great Outdoor Provision Co. Presents the Featured Meet of Week 2:
Providence Invitational (McAlpine Greenway, Charlotte)
Hosted by Providence High School
(Schedule, previous years)
(Teams entered, other information)
In the words of Coach Kurt Niedenzu of Providence High School: "The meet came about 7 years ago when Coach Touranjoe and I were talking with some other CMS coaches about the lack of choices for meets in the area at that point in the season. At that time the only big meet remotely close was the WNC Carnival put on by TC Roberson, which is an excellent meet but was quite a distance for that many CMS to go to at that point in the season. I also had several coaching friends in South Carolina (Northwestern, Mauldin, Hilton Head, etc) who said they wouldn't mind running some other teams besides the SC teams, so I said why don't we just put on a friendly meet with some local school running against the SC teams? And that is basically what got it started. Since then, in developing it, we realized there were area teams that are unable to compete in Wendy's because of team limits, and they wanted to run at McAlpine, so we started adding them and some from the surrounding counties. Then teams in the central part of the state and toward the east coast (bless Coach Autry, that is quite a haul for his team) saw that there was some interesting competition going on down in Charlotte with the SC teams (Lexington SC boys put on quite a show last year) and started to also come down.
One of our goals was to keep the meet size manageable - sizewise about the same as the Carnival. We are straining right now at the seams with keeping it at 4 races - if we decide to add two more races we would need to start those at 8 and 8:30 because at this time of year running after 11 this early in the season can be incredibly hot (and many runners are not in the best of shape at that point especially first year ones). What helps us in being able to handle the number of runners in those races is the veteran help (much of the crew that puts on Wendy's and Footlocker are there) and the great parental support the Providence team has. Without the help of Larry McAfee, Evans Lalas, Tom Deming, and Coach Steve Touranjoe (Providence boys coach) I would not be able to put on a meet like this. So at this point we are considering adding two races in the future because we are now starting to get requests from other states to come to the meet as word of the meet seems to be spreading. I generally now send out an email to the coaches on my email list in the spring and the meet fills up within the span of a few days. We try our best to get the teams in and out of there quickly and safely, nothing too fancy, and try to make sure the teams get a nice early test."
The home to Foot Locker South Regional and many past state meets (both NCHSAA and NCISAA), McAlpine Greenway is the best-known course in North Carolina. Either loved or derided for its "race track" feel, the course is mostly flat with very good footing, being mostly rock dust over dirt. The one hill is a doozy by North Carolina standards, but if you have the strength to attack it and the balance to let gravity pull you down the other side, you can actually come off it faster (many, many runners waste too much energy slowing themselves on the downhill). It is a great spectator course, and when the crowd is large and enthusiastic it can create almost a stadium atmosphere as athletes come around the lake to head to the finish, spurring runners on to stronger kicks. Despite its legendary speed, McAlpine is just a fun course to run, and the width and smoothness of its trails make it ideal for large races.
Overall Course Records
Course Records, NC Runners Only
(Records courtesy of NCPrepTrack.com)
Directions to McAlpine
GPS Address: 8711 Monroe Rd, Charlotte, North Carolina
- From Greensboro, Raleigh, and points East: directions via Google Maps.
- From Fayetteville, Wilmington, and the Sandhills: directions via Google Maps
- From Rock Hill, Columbia, and central South Carolina: directions via Google Maps
- From Asheville and southwestern North Carolina: directions via Google Maps
- From Spartanburg and western South Carolina: directions via Google Maps
- From Winston-Salem: directions via Google Maps
- From northwestern North Carolina: directions via Google Maps
Things to Do Outdoors in the Charlotte Area
Since there will be other meets in Charlotte this year, let's focus on one big outdoor activity center in the Charlotte area: the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Located on the northwestern side of the city (accessible by I-85 and I-485), the whitewater center has far more than its name indicates. Check out just a few of the wide variety of activites available:
- Rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing
- Rock climbing
- Mountain biking (and also running on the trail system)
- Obstacle course, adventure course, zip lines, and more