Is practice canceled if it is raining? Generally we do practice when it is raining. Practice is always canceled if there is lighting.If the rain is exceptionally heavy practice would also be canceled. Safety is the number one consideration. Practicing in the rain is useful because if it rains on the day of a meet we still race. Besides the kids love nothing better than coming back covered with mud and being told that it is okay to be messy.
What do I wear to practice in warm weather and cold weather? Both for warm and cold weather the clothing of choice should be something that keeps you dry and comfortable. Warm weather is easy as shorts and a singlet or t-shirt is enough. However having the right kind of materials can keep you dryer and cooler. Cotton soaks up and holds a lot of water which is not good, especially in cooler or cold weather. Cold weather is always harder to dress for, the rule to follow is dress in layers. As you run and warm up you can take a layer or two off. Likewise when you get done it is easy to throw something on again. Usually we see most new runners over dress in cold weather not realizing just how warm you will get running on a cold day. Use practices to experiment for just the right combination. Always remember the hat and gloves on cold days, they are the easiest to take off and put on. Do I need a specific type of shoe to run? For the new runner just giving it a try and only running a short way, most any comfortable gym/tennis/running shoe will do fine. Once however you decide to keep going then the choice should be a good running shoe. It should fit well and be comfortable. For training purposes the weight of the shoe is not important. Many runners actually wear a heavy better built shoe for their training and then switch to a lighter weight shoe for racing. My own training shoes weigh more than twice as much as my racing shoes. How much the shoe costs or the brand is not as important as the fit. Different brands and even different shoes with in a brand can fit very differently. Not only try them on, but drive the store clerks crazy by having your child run up and down the aisles to be sure they feel good. One thing for certain is that the children will out grow them long before they wear them out. So I usually plan on buying two pairs a year one in the fall before the season, and again in the spring. Always remember to buy shoes in the afternoon or evening, it is when feet are at their largest size of the day. What do the age group years mean, how do I know where my child fits in, when do they change, what distance does that mean they run? With exception of our Cheetahs (also know as PeeWees) the age groups are 2 year brackets. Cheetah's are 8 and under, Bantams are 9 & 10, Midgets 11 & 12, Youth 13 & 14, Intermediate Youth 15 & 16, and Young Adults 17 & 18. You are placed in your age group based on the year you are born. For instance this year 2001 all those born: 1993 or later would be Cheetah's (PeeWee's), 1991 & 1992 would be Bantams, 1989 & 1990 would be Midgets, 1987 & 1988 Youths, etc... Because of the way birthdays fall during the course of the year it is possible to have someone who is still 10 be running with the 11 & 12 year olds because their birthday falls late in the year. This could be the one disadvantage to be young. Can I wear my uniform to school? PLEASE NO! We would love to show off a bit at schools but we do not charge for being a Wildcat. Which means the uniforms are used over from year to year being handed down from older runners to younger. So we need to have them last as long as possible for future Wildcats. The only reason we even have uniforms and warm-ups for nearly 100 kids is through the amazing generosity of those who have seen the program and have wanted to help make it even better. So we ask that everyone takes very good care of uniforms! We do however sell Wildcat t-shirts & sweatshirts which make for a great birthday or holiday gift for both the Wildcats and their families. Proceeds from the sale of shirts & sweatshirts go right back into supporting the team. Do I have to be at all the scheduled practices? We encourage new and beginning runners to try and make two nights a week. We hold practices four nights a week and on Saturday morning to help busy families find a time to find us. Running like any sport will give back what is put into it. Like any sport it can be overdone and under done. The coaches can help with guidance as to how much to do as the young runner becomes better conditioned. Many of our older Wildcats run 4-5 days a week. As runners become conditioned it becomes easier. We do not have mandatory practices and Wildcats can come as often or as little as they would like and still compete at meets. Where do I get Wildcat sweatshirts and t-shirts? Many of the coaches have order sheets in their information folders. You can also e-mail us for information. We can order in very small quantities and have a few sizes available. Who is in charge of the Wildcats? There are times when over 50 kids show up at practice that many of us ask this question. However it is the Parents who really are in charge via a Board which includes a President/Vice President/Secretary/Treasurer/Volunteer Coordinator/Uniform Manager/Head Coach/Assistant Coaches. In other words a lot of VOLUNTEERS. We are blessed with parents who early on after being exposed to our group cannot help but volunteer and help in someway. It is really the only thing that the Coaches ask for in return for the time that they spend working with the children. We are by way of affiliation part of the Rockford Road Runners but operate completely independent from the adult running club. Can I run spring and not fall or visa versa? Yes. We are here to help children learn more about running and fitness. We are happy to be able to teach kids about running and help them reach their goals via either our spring or fall session or both. USATF vs. AAU? Who are they, are they different, do I need a membership card for one or both? United States of America Track & Field and Amateur Athletic Union They are two competing amateur organizations. Both have advantages and disadvantages. There is no requirement to have a membership in either organization unless your child decides to run in state qualifying event. At that time a membership card would be necessary, the cost is about $12-15 dollars. Both organizations have National Cross Country Meets in early December and the club decides on which meet to try and qualify for early in the season. Cost of belonging to the club? No charge to join, we may be the only youth sport organization in northern Illinois that does not charge for kids to be a member. However there is no completely free lunch. Some of the costs that do occur if your child decides to compete are: Road race fees such as the Heritage Run this cost would be as per the entry form. Fall cross country are $5-6 per meet. We require a uniform deposit of $20 that is refunded upon return of complete uniform. We hold team dinners usually potluck with no entry fee. How many fall meets are there, where, do I have to attend all of them? There are 4-8 fall meets depending on if a runner decides to run State & National meets. The meets are all in northern Illinois with 3-4 of the meets either in Rockford or Belvidere area. Other meets can be at Elgin, Marengo, Quad Cities. The schedule is determined early on before September. We have run in National Meets in Portland, OR, Lisle, IL, Lexington, KY, and Joplin, MO. Runners can run as many or as few as they would like with the exception of nationals which you must qualify by way of a State meet. We have had some kids who only wanted run at practices and had no desire to race. As runners ourselves we recognize that some kids just enjoy the social aspect of the club and if they are happy then so are we.