Annual youth track and field program helps kick off summer

Jun. 8—JAMESTOWN — It's that time of year again.

The Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its summer track program on Wednesday evenings in June at Charlotte and Gordon Hansen Stadium on the University of Jamestown campus.

Participants and spectators can enter through the main gate and then proceed onto the track surface. Food and beverages, other than water, is prohibited on the track or field surface. Concessions are allowed in the bleachers only. Races will begin at 5:30 p.m. for runners of any age. Participants can run as many races as they want.

There is no preregistration or charge for this program.

"It's really informal," Jamestown Parks and Recreation Programs and Special Events Manager, Tammy Mewes, said. "They just show up and run. The track announcers will announce the races and whoever wants to run that race will meet at the starting line. The top six placers get ribbons after their race."

Jamestown's summer track program began in 1970 when Jack Brown was the head of the Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department. The summer track program is open to children ranging in age from under 5 years old to 18 years old.

"There's some tiny ones and it's like, how did they just run a full lap with those little legs?" Mewes said with a chuckle. "I have seen some older kids but there are only a handful whereas the younger kids, there is around 20 kids in those races."

Participants can choose to run in 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 meter dashes. The program will also feature some relay events and other athletic contests.

Runners will be broken up into different age groups for each race. The youngest group is made up of children ages 5 or under while the oldest participants will compete in the 18 and over category. Mewes and the Parks and Rec Department will divide the rest of the runners into one of the following age brackets: 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 or 16-17.

For more information interested parties are encouraged to call the Jamestown Parks and Recreation office at 701-252-3982.

"I think it's important for families in the community to get together and have that time to connect," Mewes said. "It's also an opportunity for the children to have something to do and be active and build healthy habits. Getting involved in those kinds of things is fun."