Maddie Criscione breaks through the tape at the finish line of a race at the 3A state championship meet last weekend. Criscione will attempt to break the
Maddie Criscione breaks through the tape at the finish line of a race at the 3A state championship meet last weekend. Criscione will attempt to break the PCHS 800-meter record on May 31. Photo courtesy of PCHS Track

Runners from across the state, and even a few international athletes, will flock to Park City High School on Saturday, May 31, for an All-Comers Track Meet at Dozier Field.

Though the USA Track and Field-sanctioned meet will feature world-class athletes, high school stars and other elite runners, the event is open to anyone who wants to compete.

Ben Herr, head coach of the Park City Track Club, said he hopes to draw more common runners to this year's event.

"This is the third year we're hosting this meet," he said. "But it's the first year I'm calling it an All-Comers meet because I'm trying to get more people who aren't with the track club or with USA Track and Field to come out and participate."

For those who just want to watch, Herr said there will be some great athletes performing on Saturday.

"Last year, we had some English long jumpers who wanted to try to make their country's Olympic standards," he said. "We usually get some really high-end athletes. At our home meet on the 31st, we'll have some of the high schoolers coming to try to break a school record. On top of that, we usually get some of the bobsledders to show up."

Some runners will be from the Park City High School track team, including some of the female runners who were part of the state championship team.

"Maddie Criscione, who won the 800-meter race at state, didn't even realize she was so close to the school record," Herr said.


"She was just running and when she started to take a lead, she backed off a little bit. She didn't realize that if she just pressed a little bit more, she would have had the school record. So she's going to give it another try. The boys' 4x400 team, who finished third in the state, were a second off the school record. They're going to come out and try to break that."

But, Herr added, don't be intimidated by the top-level runners. There will be plenty of action, even for those who have never run competitively before.

"I don't want to scare anybody from coming," he said. "They're all in their own division you won't be racing or jumping against them unless you want to."

Age groups will be broken up by every two years at the younger ages. From age 6 to 23, classifications will involve runners of roughly the same age. Once runners are 24 and above, the classes move to every five years (24-29, 30-34, etc.).

Registration for the meet will begin at 9 a.m. at Dozier Field, with the events starting shortly thereafter.

"We're going to start at 10 a.m. at Dozier Field for the running events," Herr said. "We'll start at 9:30 for some of the throws and jumping. It'll be a nice, leisurely morning you won't have to get up too early and it won't be too cool.

"It'll go until about 2 or 3 p.m. depending on how many people show up. We've had close to 350-400 athletes show up the last couple years and that's not counting people in the stands."

Registration will be very affordable, as well, Herr added.

"It'll be a great day to spend a day in the sun and it's only $3 per event," he said. "We're not in this to make money. We're just a developmental club. We want to introduce the younger kids, the high schoolers and the parents to the fact that running is not a punishment. We actually have T-shirts that say 'Our sport is your sport's punishment.'"

"Running is not a punishment. Running takes a lot of technique, a lot of skill and a lot of dedication. We're trying to get kids, parents, everybody to realize what a fun sport it is."

For parents who wish to run with their child, Herr said Saturday's meet will give them that opportunity.

"If a kid wants to race their dad in the 100, shoot, we'll let them do it," he said.

All the events of a normal track meet will be contested on Saturday, except one.

"The only thing we will not do is the pole vault," Herr said. "We don't have a pole vault pit at Park City, so we can't do it. But we'll start out with the long jump, move on to the 100, we'll do hurdles, shot put, 3,000 meters, all that."