There’s an expectation from teams, coaches and fans attending the annual Erin L. Nance Fall Distance Classic that the event will be one of the best-run cross country events held across the entire state.
That expectation comes from the fact that the event is run by a dedicated group of individuals who have continually put their heart and soul into the event named in honor of Erin L. Nance, the daughter of Terry and Connie, who was killed in a car accident in the spring of 1998.
The Nance Distance Classic, which will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, starting at 9 a.m., will once again be run on the grounds of the London Country Club. The race which will be run for the 44th straight time was originally named the London Invitational when it started in 1974 by London High School coach Marty Komives.
Terry Nance took over as the head coach at London in 1978. He has since retired from coaching, but will be the meet manager of this for the 40th time this weekend. He said keeping the meet on the grounds of the Country Club and continuing to make it a desirable destination for the best teams from across Central Ohio and the rest of the state is key.
“Any athletic event will bring outsiders into your community,” he said. “It is a great opportunity to showcase your community to these visitors. A tremendous amount of pride is generated when the visitors to this event know they have attended something special and link those good feelings to their view of your entire community.
“Knowing that the athletes, coaches, and spectators that come here as our guests leave knowing Erin and having respect for London generates a very high degree of pride. The main feature of this event is the facility; there is nothing else like it. Combining the facility with the special touch that our volunteers provide generates the popularity of this event. Trying to keep Erin’s memory and spirit alive motivates us to make the extra efforts. As long as it is done right, it will remain popular.”
Even though her name has been on the meet since the fall of ’98, the Nance’s believe it’s important to continue to keep Erin’s memory alive, especially for those who don’t know her story.
“This event is an opportunity for our family to try to keep the memory and spirit of Erin alive,” Terry said. “As the years pass, this becomes more difficult for any family trying to do the same thing. We want to know that we are doing our best to introduce Erin to as many people as possible for as long as possible. I believe it’s popular because many schools and coaches realize that it is more than just an athletic event. Many athletes, coaches, and spectators visit the display of Erin’s photos to see who and what Erin was.”
This year’s event will feature the return of middle school races for the first time in roughly 20 years. The race organizers believe the Nance may be the last high school cross country invitational contested on a golf course in Ohio.
There is a $1 donation asked for parking. This money goes to the Erin Nance Memorial Scholarship at London High School. In the past 20 years, 73 London High School seniors have received over $40,000 from this scholarship fund.
Reach Chris Miles at 740-852-1616, ext. 1618 or via Twitter @MadPressSports.
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