Sports
9:47 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Winston-Salem Will Host Two National Track & Field Events:Community Volunteers Wanted

Hundreds of athletes from around the world will be sprinting into Winston-Salem this July to compete in the 2014 USA  Track and Field (USATF) Masters Outdoor Championships.

Organizers of the 2014 USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships held a news conference at Kentner Stadium on the campus of Wake Forest University on Wednesday, June 4. The competition is open to people ages 30 and older. The motto for this year's event is "Older, Slower, Lower."
Organizers of the 2014 USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships held a news conference at Kentner Stadium on the campus of Wake Forest University on Wednesday, June 4. The competition is open to people ages 30 and older. The motto for this year's event is "Older, Slower, Lower."
Credit Celia Spell

The event will be held at Wake Forest University and is hosted by North Carolina USATF, Visit Winston-Salem, and Twin City Track Club. Anyone aged 30 or up can participate. Noel Ruebel, of Winston-Salem has competed in multiple Outdoor Championships world-wide. He’s also the meet director for this year’s competition.

“It is going to be a great event. Until you’ve seen people in their eighties and nineties sprinting down the track, you haven’t lived. They’re wonderful people, and they’re just so much fun to be around. But we want to get as many people involved as we can. My message to most people who haven’t competed is when was the last time you competed in a national championship? You have the opportunity right here in your home town, come out and have some fun with it,” said Ruebel.

The competition will feature the 100 meter dash, 10,000 meter-race walk, throwing, jumping, steeplechase, and a pentathlon.  Richard Geiger, the president of Visit Winston-Salem, said volunteers are needed to help host the event. ”They do not need to be experienced in track and field,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for our community to showcase all of our great venues. But most importantly, we’re going to need some volunteers. We’re expecting over 1500 track and field athletes from around the world to come here. We need volunteers locally who are interested in working at a major national event right here at Kentner Stadium at Wake Forest University,” said Geiger.

“We’re also asking anyone 30 and over who’s interested in perhaps running in the championships to register as well. There are still opportunities to compete in this national event,” he added. Interested athletes do not need to qualify to participate.  The 2014 USA Track and Field Masters Outdoor Championships will be held July 17-20 at Wake Forest University.

Geiger said the event will have a positive economic impact on the community. “The meet we are hosting at Wake Forest in July will have over 1500 athletes, and with coaches and media over 2000 people to fill over 1000 hotel rooms. They’ll leave behind over $600,000 to $700,000 in the local economy. So anytime you can bring people in from out of town, it’s good for our hotels, our restaurants, our venues, our facilities, our attractions, and our retail outlets.”

The meet is one of two national track events hosted by Winston-Salem in the coming year. The 2015 USATF Masters Indoor Championships will be held March 20-22, 2015, at JDL Fast Track off Stratford Road.  Craig Longhurst, director of the JDL Fast Track, said he hopes his facility can be used for indoor track events like these for years to come.

“It’s exciting when you get this many athletes coming from out of town, all across the country, and even internationally to Winston-Salem. Most of these folks didn’t even know where Winston-Salem was until this meet was awarded, so it helps put us on the map. From the indoor perspective, there aren’t a lot of indoor venues that bid on this every year. So we’re going to see how this first event goes, and it may be something that hopefully we can get repeatedly year after year,” said Longhurst.

Registration information, volunteer details, and the track and field event information for both events are available at usatf.org and VisitWinstonSalem.com/Masters.