Le Sueur-Henderson cross country team gathered virtually on Zoom May 20 for an informational meeting to discus how the COVID-19 virus is affecting sports and what runners can do to stay in shape during the summer.

Head coach Don Marcussen and assistant coach Shannon Froehlich led the discussion with about 25 runners coming out for the boys and girls teams this fall.

Marcussen noted nothing definite has been decided by the Minnesota State High School League on what can and cannot be done with athletes. More definite answers from MSHSL are expected June 1.

However, he said that the state does allow people to get together in groups of 10 which includes running together.

“Cross country still could happen with social distancing,” Marcussen said, giving it an 80 percent chance of having a season.

However, the hosting school at meets may have to limit the number of teams, which would mean no meets with dozens of teams. In addition, the schedule may need to be modified, and there may be a limitation on the number of fans.

Marcussen and Froehlich also put together a Google classroom page to communicate back-and-forth with athletes.

A number of summer 5K road races have already been canceled because of the virus: BBQ Days in Belle Plaine; Kolacky Days in Montgomery; Old Fashioned Fourth of July in St. Peter; and Giant Celebration in Le Sueur.

So Marcussen said there will probably be no, or at least very few, 5K races.

Other options

Another way to get in better shape during the summer, a Headed “Up North” Virtual Road race has been set up by Le Sueur-Henderson Community Education, where runners can choose among three different route options from June 1 to Aug. 31. The runners can run to: St. Cloud (100 miles), Duluth (200 miles) or Ely (300 miles).

Runners, who do it on the honor system, can sign up after June 1. Every day, miles are recorded. Marcussen, who has a family cabin in St. Cloud, is running 100 miles. He and others can extend their distance to the next location if they feel up to it.

The cost is $40 per person, and it includes a dri-fit race shirt and a prize pack from the destination city. After registering, an email is sent with details on how to track miles, along with a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) sheet.

“The plan is to add to the fun as you move on,” Community Education Director Nathan Warden wrote in the flyer. “We’ll send you pictures and points of interest that you’ll be passing.”

Register for the virtual race at Le Sueur-Henderson Community Education at communityed.isd2397.org. For more information, call 507-665-4626 or email nwarden@isd2397.org.

The LS-H cross country coaches also have scheduled group running times for the athletes, starting June 1 in front of the high school. Froehlich will run with students at 8 a.m. Mondays and Wednesday, and Marcussen will do the same at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursday. Students also can get together at their own time and run together.

Froehlich also offers a 30-to-45 minute virtual aerobics workout called “Sweating with Shannon” on Zoom at 8 a.m Tuesdays for any runners interested.

None of the training programs are mandatory, but it’s a good way for runners to prepare to be their best at the start of the season scheduled for Aug. 17.

Students asked the coaches if distance learning continues and school is not held in person whether there would be a cross country season. Marcussen said there would most likely not be competition.

A lot remains unknown.

Reach Sports Editor Pat Beck at 931-8566 or follow him on Twitter.com @SPHSportsPat. ©Copyright 2020 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

St. Peter Herald Sports Editor covers St. Peter, Cleveland, Le Center, Le Sueur-Henderson and Tri-City United and Gustavus Adolphus College. Fishing, tennis and golf enthusiast

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