Albuquerque, NM (December 3, 2012) – New Mexico Association of USA Track & Field and the Visit Albuquerque (Visit Albuquerque) are pleased to welcome the USA Track & Field (USATF) National Junior Cross Country Championships to Albuquerque. Albuquerque will host the meet this Saturday, December 8th at Balloon Fiesta Park.

Nearly 3,000 youth athletes will travel to Albuquerque this weekend to participate in the annual event. The competition will take place in six two-year age divisions ranging from 7-18 years old. The races will begin at 9am with races occurring every half hour.

Opening ceremonies kick off at 4:45pm on Friday, December 7th at the Albuquerque Convention Center Ballrooms A-C in the West Complex with welcomes from Governor Susana Martinez and Mayor Richard J. Berry. To get the athletes excited, the opening speaker will be Silver Medalist Leo Manzano who competed in the 1500m at the 2012 Olympics.

This is the third time that Albuquerque has hosted these championships. The previous events were in 2003 and in 1978. This is the second cross country event to be held at Balloon Fiesta Park this fall.

This event is estimated to bring 7175 athletes, coaches and families, generate 2856 hotel room nights and $731,010 in direct spending in Albuquerque.

“New Mexico Association of USA Track & Field, in partnership with the Visit Albuquerque, is thrilled to welcome back the USATF National Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships for the third time. We honor the hard work and dedication of all the athletes and families on the accomplishment of qualifying for this national event,” said Shane Cleveland, USATF New Mexico President. “In the last several years, Albuquerque has stormed on to the national stage in hosting top caliber running events and we look forward to showcasing our state, city, athletes and our food!”

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