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The Lakeland Runners Club middle school development program is open to anyone in 5th through 8th grade regardless of school affiliation or ability level.
The program is ideal for athletes looking to prepare for cross country, cross-train for another sport, or begin running for the first time. Endurance makes every athlete better.
Our summer focus is not on competition, but to demonstrate how running can be part of a lifelong healthy lifestyle. Our program is all about developing structure, self-confidence, and fitness. Through deliberate play, run-focused games, and adventures we help kids get running without even knowing it.
We believe that fitness and fun can be mixed together. The friends they make in this program will give them friends for life. We believe in creating a warm and welcoming environment. Practices are 60 minutes and often in direct heat and sun so please come prepared. Athletes will need a water bottle and a positive attitude!
In mid-July, registration for the LRC Lightning, our middle school cross country team, will open. The team will run in 3 - 4 middle school meets at Lakeland's Holloway Park against kids from all over Florida from August to October. The meets will be on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings.
Registration for summer development is free but requires an account. Parents/guardians will need to set up an account and then add their child(ren) to their account to register them.
Adults are encouraged to participate in the workouts or use the time to complete their own workouts at the location.
Our program can frequently be interrupted due to summer storms. Join the text group on Remind for location updates and weather cancellation notices – text @lrcxcteam to 81010.
The Florida Youth Running Association held the first middle school state meet in 2010. In 2011, the meet was moved to the newly created cross country courses at Holloway Park, an elite series of running trails from 3k to 10k, that we in Lakeland are so fortunate to have access to year-round.
The LRC offered its first development program in 2015, encouraging enthusiasm for running by instilling a love of the sport in a fun and supportive community. The program runs mid-summer through October, and students without a school program or who want to compete at a higher level have to option to join the LRC Lightning cross country team.
What should I wear/bring?
Come dressed in shorts, t-shirt, and running shoes – it’s hot, so no long sleeves or long pants. Bring a filled water bottle.
Where will the group meet?
The LRC middle school program will run from a variety of locations, the location for each week will be sent via text (see info about Remind group). We may meet at Dobbins Park, Holloway Park, Lake Mirror, Fletcher Park at Lake Bonny, Lake Hollingsworth, Three Parks Trail, Lakeland High School Track or another location near Lakeland.
Important COVID conduct info: We will be taking extra precautions related to COVID. Please prepare your athlete with a few new rules and etiquette that we will be reinforcing.
Is previous running experience necessary?
No. Anyone at any level is invited to join us. The goal is for each individual to improve their fitness and ability. We will ask the kids to do things outside their comfort zone.
What time does practice start? The start time for Tuesday group runs is 6 pm, practice should last about an hour.
How many weeks is the Middle School program?
We will meet beginning in summer and will meet most every Tuesday through October. Those who choose to participate on the LRC Lightning cross country team will have additional practices on Thursday and Saturday as the cross country season develops. There is a fee to participate on the cross country team.
Is attendance mandatory? This is a voluntary program. Those who wish to participate on the cross country team need to commit to attending two of the three weekly practices. A minimum of 10 practices is required to run in a meet.
Participation with the LRC Lightning XC Team requires separate registration.
Polk County Middle School cross country started in 2013. Runners are encouraged to also run with their school program when one is available. The LRC Lightning is a cross country team open to all students in 5th to 8th grade. The program prepares runners to race middle school cross country 3k distance. Cross Country practice begins in August per the FSHAA guidelines.
The team participates in the Tuesday night middle school practice and has two additional practices each week, Thursday evening and Saturday morning. The location for these practices varies. The team runs 4 to 5 meets from August to October. These meets are held on Friday evenings or Saturday mornings.
Join the Lightning Text Group on Remind for location updates and weather cancellation notices – text @lrcxcteam to 81010
There is a $15 fee for meet registrations, and $10.00 race singlet fee if you need them as new team members.
To be eligible, runners must:
• be members of the Lakeland Runners Club - can join as a student member as part of the registration
• commit to attending 2 of 3 weekly practices
• attend 10 practices in the four weeks before their first meet
If you have any questions about this practice, click the button below.
These are general guidelines and the distance a child can physically and emotionally tolerate will depend on the individual, however, longer distances (10K and over) should wait until after puberty. Running in a kid’s fun run or youth track event can be a great experience for kids. For children 5 and under focus on “dash” events that range from a few yards to 400 meters. For children 5 and over, kids fun runs that are a ½ to 1 mile long may be considered, but allow for a combination of running and walking. Children ages 12 and over may want to participate in a 5K run. Children ages 15 and older may want to participate in a 10K to half marathon event. Children 18 and older may want to participate in a marathon or further distance.
Founded in 1958, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is the oldest and largest national association of runners and running organizations dedicated to growing the sport of running. The RRCA uses the term “running” to encompass the broad spectrum of “running” in the US, including competitive running, jogging, fitness walking, race walking, and wheelchair fitness/racing on roads, trails, and tracks.
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