Leon County Celebrates the Unveiling of Major Improvements to Apalachee Regional Park and Kicks Off the Biggest Cross Country Season to Date
Yesterday, Leon County Government unveiled major improvements at Apalachee Regional Park including the newly constructed multipurpose building with restrooms, multiuse stage, sidewalks wildlife viewing areas, native species landscaping and a permanent finish line structure. The celebration took place just three days before the start of the biggest cross country season to date. This November, Leon County will welcome the NCAA Cross-Country Division I National Championships to Florida for the first time in the race’s 83-year history.
“Following the County’s $3 million investment into Apalachee Regional Park, we look forward to hosting tens of thousands of athletes, coaches and visitors from all over the United States,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor. “Leon County was already known as a thriving cross country sports tourism destination, and the recent enhancements to the park now make it one of the nation’s premier cross country courses.”
On Sept. 17, the 2021/22 season will kick-off the first of seven major competitive events to be held at the County’s award-winning Apalachee Regional Park. The line up is anticipated to bring over 35,000 visitors to Leon County and result in $10 million in direct spending. Scheduled events include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men & Women’s Cross-Country Division 1 National Championships, Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) State Cross-Country Championships, USA Track and Field (USATF) Club Cross-Country National Championships, Florida State University (FSU) Invite/Pre-Nationals, the FSU Invite/Pre-State Meet, FSU Cross-Country Open, and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 8 Championships.
"Through the vision and continued efforts of our County teams and community partners, we have created a world-class cross country course at Apalachee Regional Park that has hosted more than 100 meets," said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. "The Board of County Commissioners should be commended for their continued support in making this park a cross country destination with long-lasting economic impact."
Leon County’s Apalachee Regional Park is a multiuse venue that includes one of the nation’s few sites designed specifically for cross-country running. Featuring various course and distance options through rolling hills, lowlands and pine forests, the park can host thousands of runners and visitors at some of the nation’s largest running events. In 2021, the County completed construction on enhancements like a multipurpose building with restroom facility, accessible paved sidewalk, stage, landscaping, wildlife viewing areas and a permanent finish line structure.
“We’ve been waiting in anticipation for this fall’s home cross-country schedule and we are thrilled to kick-off this year’s season opener at Apalachee Regional Park on Friday with the FSU Cross-Country Open,” FSU head cross-country coach Bob Braman said. “We are excited to share improvements to the park throughout the season where we will welcome college teams from all over the country to visit Tallahassee and preview our world-class course before nationals in November.”
Again, Leon County will welcome the NCAA Cross-Country Division I National Championships to Florida for the first time in the race’s 83-year history. FSU will serve as the host institution for the NCAA Pre-Nationals Oct. 15, 2021 and the National Championship meet scheduled for Nov. 20, 2021. This is the first NCAA national championship event held in Leon County since the women’s tennis event in 1996.
“We continue to see a tremendous amount of growth in the economic impact and visibility that cross-country sports events bring to the county,” said Kerri L. Post, Director of Leon County Division of Tourism. “We are excited about the significant improvements to the park that will enhance the visitor experience for thousands of athletes, coaches and spectators that visit from all over the country.”
2021 Upcoming Cross-Country Events at ARP:
Oct. 15 FSU XC Invite/Pre-Nationals
Oct. 15-16 FSU XC Invite/Pre-State Meet
Oct. 29 NJCAA Region 8 Championships
Nov. 12 FHSAA State Cross-Country Championships
Nov. 20 NCAA Men & Women’s Cross-Country Division I National Championships
Dec. 11 USATF Club Cross-Country National Championships
Caption: The newly constructed multipurpose building is among several improvements made to Apalachee Regional Park.
Caption: County and community partners cut the ribbon, officially opening the new and improved cross country course at Apalachee Regional Park.
About The Leon County Division of Tourism/Visit Tallahassee: The Leon County Division of Tourism (Visit Tallahassee) is the official destination marketing organization for Tallahassee-Leon County. Tourism is charged with marketing Tallahassee-Leon County nationally as a premier leisure, business and sports destination through direct sales, advertising, public relations, sports and visitor services. Named as one of Southern Living’s top 10 Cities of the South, in 2020, Tallahassee-Leon County welcomed 1.68 million visitors who contributed $766 million in economic impact and accounts for more than 11,943 people employed in our community in the tourism & hospitality industry. For more information, go to VisitTallahassee.com or call toll free (800) 628-2866. Engage with Visit Tallahassee on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #iHeartTally and #Trailahassee.
For more information contact Scott Lindeman, Marketing Communications Director, Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee at (850) 606-2322 office or Scott.Lindeman@VisitTallahassee.com.