Homeschoolers and unattached high school runners not wanted in Mississippi

Sunday morning, another beautiful day, albeit still very dry. Got up and did routine stuff – house cleaning, dishes, laundry, that sort of thing, then did a upper body/ab workout. Finally got around to some lunch!

Later, Joseph and I met Juan, Jorge, Brent, Will, and Nick for a 6 PM run. We did our 5.3 ish route. The weather was still not overly hot, so we cruised along pretty well. Crazy Nick was wanting a slightly faster pace than his usual, which works out well for our easier days. This probably won’t be the case much longer, as that apple eatin’ dude is speeding up daily! He stayed with us for at least two miles and at a 6:20 or better pace! Will was back there too, but then backed off as he had already biked freakin 76 miles this morning! Geez. These guys. Brent had just got back from camping over the weekend, but had no problem staying with us the entire route. That trippin air force joker is getting fast! For Juan, Jorge, and Joseph, this was basically an easy run, but anytime I am running 5.3 miles right at 34 minutes (33:58), I am happy. And really, it was better than that because we had to slow down for lots of intersections, red lights, etc. The only time I really stopped my watch was when Juan and Jorge scooted thru a red light that caught the rest of us. We did not quite recatch those two, but did not lose any distance either and basically all 5 of us finished at almost exactly the overall time and pace. Awesome. Yep.

Monday, Easy run on the South Farm gravel at 6 PM with Will, Brent, Joseph, and Zach. Both Will and Zach jogged over from their respective homes, then ran. They both shortened up the run on gravel too, since they needed to jog home. I took it easy today. Felt really nice out, and I enjoyed a relaxing 51 minutes of running as the sun started to set. In fact, after about 3 miles, the others got ahead of me. They all took a shorter route back, but were still hanging out after I finished mine. Cool.

Tuesday, Got up in the morn and did some pushups and ab stuff. Not too much, but some. At 6 PM, John “Moonman” Mooney joined Joseph and I for some semi fast stuff at the MSU XC course. Dusty! After a 1000m warmup jog and light stretching we did 2 X 1000m, 4 X 1 minute (1 minute rests), and 2 X 30 seconds (30 second rests), then a cool down 1000m. Nothing crazy. Joseph was thinking he might run in the MSU High School XC Invitational on Thursday as a unattached runner, so no need to over do it in case. He lead the way, but we were right behind him. His first 1000 was 3:19, I was 3:21, and John was right behind me. Second 1000 was faster with Joseph 3:09, me 3:11, and John 3:13. Our 1 minute and 30 seconds fast deals were at least that fast. Felt pretty good. I was really thirsty. It was really dusty. And, I saw a unicorn.

Wednesday, 40 minute easy run with Nick and Brent thru campus and research park. On the way back, Nick headed back to his dorm. He ended up with about 19 miles for the day. Brent and I ran the remaining couple of miles pretty fast. As the sun was setting, it was ideal for running and we took advantage of it. Still hyper when I got home, so I did some pushups, pull ups, curls, shoulder presses, and crunches. AH. That’s better.

Thursday, Well, change of plans.  Joseph  did not get to run  in the MSU High School XC meet after all. Apparently, the SHS Coach   and the SHS Athletic Director Stan Miller got wind of his entry and contacted the Mississippi High School Activities Association and they all contacted the MSU coach and told him that Joseph could not run the meet. Thanks for jumping all over that! Even though Mississippi has allowed unattached runners in college hosted meets since they have had cross country as a sport in MS, and even though Joseph was able to enter and run one about three weeks ago, they have now decided that unattached and home schooled runners (especially Joseph MacGown because he is good??? — Don’t want no damn unattached runner beating our kids with real coaches!) can no longer run in any college hosted (or high school hosted) meets in MS, unless the meet offers them their own little race. Woohoo!  They cannot be in the same race as the public school kids because they have cooties?? Just another case of backwards attitudes in MS! Politics in sports. One reason why Joseph is not running this year for his school . He got tired of the games and bullshit. Not sure what would have happened had they let him run. Nothing happened when he ran in Jackson a few weeks ago. And, I could not get a straight answer on that question. In fact, I got lots of answers, none of which made any sense!  The funny thing is, before Joseph decided to run unattached this year, I checked with the director of track and XC for MS (Lonnie Tillman) last year to make sure it was ok for him to run in these college hosted meets. Lonnie Tillman told me it was fine.  Also, I have a copy of the rules from last year and it did not mention anything about unattached runners in there. And apparently, many of the college coaches were unaware of this rule. Today I talked to Lonnie Tillman again,  but now inexplicably his story had changed, and he said it has always been a rule. He did not respond to me asking him why he told me the opposite thing last year, nor did he respond to me asking him that why that rule did not appear in the older handbook. Coincidentally, the rules are no longer posted online. Perhaps there is something about this in the new rule book. Thanks for sharing that with folks. Not. Oh, wait, I still don’t know how to even purchase the new and improved rulebook, if that is even possible for a “civilian”. Good ole boys’ rules! Yeehaw Mississippi! On a positive note, I heard our bud Alex Ross had a good race today and won the meet with a PR time of 17:15. Way to go Alex.

Well, all was not lost. Life is not over. And, it was another beautiful day to run! Joseph watched some of a local swim meet, then he and I ran a nice 5.3 mile run with Brent, Will, and Max (Brent’s cool daddy German roommate). Max has been running on his own to try to get in shape to run with us! He did alright today, especially for that first 1.5 miles, which was probably about 7:20 pace. But, when we dropped it down to around 6 minute pace, it was Brent, Joseph and I. Will finished up a couple of minutes behind us, and Max a couple behind him. I should also mention that Will ran over there from his office, and back afterward, and also ran 5 miles that morning! So, awesome job guys! That crazy Brent is getting really fast man! Really getting hard to keep up with him lately instead of the other way around.

Saturday, Rained all night and was pouring in the morning. Still, we headed to the White’s for the weekly Boardtown Running Club long run. As were arriving, it was absolutely pouring! Windy like crazy. And, still pitch black at 6:25. We were thinking, geez, nobody will be running today, this was probably a waste of time. But, then, we saw Haley Jenkins running into blinding rain in the dark! Awesomeness! So, dang. We had to run then. Haley has come so far with her running. Its amazing really. She is quite inspirational! Keep it up Haley.  Actually quite a few folks showed up. Some of our Starkville Striders made it including Zach, Will, Ravi, and Nick! Joseph, Zach and I did the 12 mile loop. Ravi too, except he missed the turn near the end and ran who knows how far. Freaking Nick ran 6 miles to the club in the rain, then ran 12, then ran back home! Will did the longer 15.8ish mile loop today. Joseph ended up right around 1:20 with his first 6 miles ahead of me, then he ran back with me. I was 1:21:12. Zach was also in that area, but not sure exactly. As it turned out, the weather ended up not being too bad. Yeah, we did get wet, but really, it was much better than I expected. The return was harder because the wind was hitting us in the face! Will said he added some later and got in about 21 miles total. Nick probably got in about 26 miles this morn!

Later that afternoon, I had a nice mountain bike ride with Audrey and her buds Erin, Kent, and Reese at the Tombigbee National Forest. Trails were somewhat wet, but not terrible. Very pleasant out and we mostly cruised along at a decent pace (considering the difficulty of the trails). About halfway thru, my calves were both getting tight! I think I was a bit dehydrated. Also, maybe my seat was a couple inches low. Raising it seemed to help. Some fun stretches of down hill action here and there!


Sunday, AM – upper body/ab workout; PM – 5.3 mile run, 33:58.

Monday, PM – 51 minutes on gravel, easy pace

Tuesday, AM – pushups, abs; PM – workout: 2 X 1000m, 4 X 1 minute (1 minute rests), and 2 X 30 seconds (30 second rests)

Wednesday, PM – 40 easy run; upper body/ab workout.

Thursday, PM –  5.3 miles, first 1.5 slow, then the rest at tempo pace (6:15 or better)

Saturday, AM – 12 miles, about 6:45 mile pace in the rain; PM – 2 hour mountain bike ride at Noxubee Hills Trails



Filed under Running

2 responses to “Homeschoolers and unattached high school runners not wanted in Mississippi

  1. Joe, I was talking with Heather Duley in New Albany, MS on Friday about that. She coaches a group of homeschoolers call the Spartans. They had the same problem and got banned from competing against public or private school.

    • Rod, yeah, Its a pathetic attempt by a few higher ups to exclude people. Tell Heather that there is a work around. If these homeschoolers and other unattached runners can get enough runners together, the college coaches hosting high school meets can offer them their own race at meets. They cannot run in the same race with the public school kids. Stupid, but Mississippi is known for stupidity. We are also known for obesity and should do everything we can to promote running and other types of fitness. But, anyway, this would be a way these kids could compete (other than driving to states that don’t have restrictive rules). It is not like this everywhere, and was not like this even last year in MS. Some states even allow home school kids to run in state meets! Another alternative would be to get these groups together and put on their own meets. Even 2-5 meets a year would be nice. Even if they were all at the same place. I feel sure venues like the MSU XC course would allow that. Would need 50-100 people to make it worthwhile. Ask her if there is a statewide type homeschool group. Create interest for running groups. Find people like me to help coach. Turn these kids into awesome running machines and make the public school teams wish they could run against them!

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