By Jeff Toquinto on August 28, 2015
What may arguably the largest sporting event in terms of athletes participating in the history of Bridgeport High School will be coming to town this weekend. On Saturday morning, the second annual Charles Pointe-Indian Run Invitational will take place with more than 1,000 athletes participating and nearly 60 schools.
The event will be held at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex. It will run from the morning through the afternoon and include a high school boys and girls division, a middle school boys and girls division as well as a unique feature in an adult cross country 5K event.
"The final count for the school events is 1,099 runners," said BHS Cross Country Coach Jon Griffith. "We also have nine runners pre-registered for the Open 5K, which puts us well over 1,100 athletes on the day. I expect 20 to 30 runners in the 5K that will sign up that day."
The huge field consists of more than 50 teams between the high school and middle school divisions. High school teams participating are Bridgeport, Woodrow Wilson, Philip Barbour, Notre Dame, Elkins, Robert C. Byrd, Capital, Preston, South Harrison, Doddridge County, Buckhannon-Upshur, Winfield, Weir, Ritchie County, Trinity Christian, Riverside, Buffalo (girls only), East Fairmont, Lewis County, Clay County, Princeton, Grafton, North Marion, University, Oak Glen, Clay-Battelle, Fairmont Senior, Lincoln and Liberty.
As some may note, there are plenty of powerful programs competing. Griffith said they come from all classifications as well.
"We have from the Class AAA boys, the No. 2, No. 7, No. 8, and No. 10-ranked teams. In Class AAA girls, we have the No. 1, No. 5 and No. 6-ranked teams," Griffith said. "From Class AA-A boys, the event will feature the No. 1, No. 2, No. 7 and No. 10 teams. For the 'AA-A' girls, we have the No. 1, No. 3, No. 4, No. 7 and No. 10 teams. I would have to say that is a pretty impressive field."
Middle schools participating are Bridgeport, Suncrest, Park, Notre Dame, Doddridge County, West Fairmont, Mountaineer (Morgantown), Buckhannon-Upshur, Ritchie County, Elkins, Central Preston, Washington Irving, Philippi, Robert L. Bland, Kasson, Westwood, Lincoln, Aurora (girls only), East Fairmont, Clay-Battelle, Summersville, South, Taylor County, and Ripley.
After a morning course tour, the event will begin at 9 a.m. with the high school girls race and that will be followed by the prep boys competition at 9:45 a.m. Activities resume with the Adult 5K at 11 a.m. and will conclude with the middle school event in the afternoon. At 12:30 p.m., the middle school girls will race followed by a 1 p.m. start for the boys.
There will be awards ceremonies for all three divisions. And Griffith said from the awards to the planning and everything in between, there are plenty of people to thank.
"Obviously, I have to thank Jamie Corton (managing member) and Genesis Partners for their involvement and support of this event. Don Burton and the Bridgeport Parks and Recreation Department has also been invaluable in getting the facility ready. Michelle Duez has also been tremendous in her dual role of director of the Greater Bridgeport (Convention and Visitor's Bureau) and president of the BHS T&F/XC Parents Association coordinating the logistics of the meet," said Griffith. "I also have to thank the Funk and Wilson families for all of their hard work on the actual course. In particular, Fred Funk and Kirk Wilson have spent countless hours on preparing and improving the course."
Griffith also heaped praise on his administration for school support as well as the City of Bridgeport's Police and Fire Departments. He also singled out "John Wilson and the Bridgeport City Council, Julie Love, Monica Blythe, and on and on and on. The list of people contributing to this event is so long I know I will forget someone," Griffith added. " … I can't thank them enough."
The event will also be a boon for the local economy. Along with the impact of those driving into the event and leaving the same day, Griffith said multiple teams will be staying the night.
Due to the high volume of participants and traffic that will end up on State Route 131, here is additional information provided by Griffith.
Please encourage those attending to use the shuttle parking from Bridgeport High School. Parking will begin in the back of the school and move to the football field when and if the school lot fills. The shuttles will depart from behind the high school. Individuals will purchase your ticket before boarding the bus. The bus will drop you at the top of the hill at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex. It is anticipated that buses will be departing at each location every 10-15 minutes. If you require handicapped parking, you will be directed to park along with the other spectators, but we will have side by sides available to transport you to the bus. Directions and a map from the Bridgeport Recreation Complex to Bridgeport High School can be found at this link (
School buses transporting teams will be allowed to drive to the top of the Recreation Complex and unload. They will then be directed to park at Bridgeport Middle School. Coaches may want to get drivers' cell phone number to let them know when to pick teams up. As an alternative, there will also be radio contact with the parking attendant at Bridgeport Middle School in the event a bus needs contacted.
The Bridgeport Police Department will have a large digital sign at the Bridgeport Recreation Complex to advise fans when Complex parking is full. When that happens, all traffic will be directed to Bridgeport High School for parking. There will also be printed maps to give drivers with instructions for finding the school. Additionally, the Bridgeport Police Department will be broadcasting directions to the high schools on AM1620.
Concessions and restrooms will be available at the large baseball field house. T-Shirts will also be sold from the main concession stand. There will be 550 t-shirts with a large majority in small and medium sizes. Additional restrooms are available in the small concession building adjacent to tent city. This concession stand will primarily sell water and provide basic first aid ice. Even more restrooms will be available in the form of Port-a-Johns across the road from the small concession stand.
Award ceremonies will take place along the course adjacent to the road way. Spectators may gather along the orange fencing along the course as well as across the road on the bank and paved trail next to the baseball field. This should provide ample space and the ability for everyone to take pictures of the athletes with a beautiful view of the course as a backdrop. There will be three separate awards ceremonies. One for each of the sections: high school, Open 5K, and middle school.
The Charles Pointe Indian Run Invitational boasts some of the best spectator views of any course. This year, there will be a viewing area inside the course loop. Access to the interior viewing area will be available through a monitored pass gate along the entrance road, near the awards table area. Since access to this area requires crossing the course, you will be permitted in and out of the area as deemed appropriate by race staff. This area has excellent views of the start/finish area as well as a large portion of the course. Another excellent viewing area is along the paved path next to the baseball fields. This provides an elevated view and gives you visual access to the runners over the majority of the course. Many spectators gather along the orange fencing and the entrance road and still have a great view of much of the race. Coaches only will be permitted to some additional spots along the course, but are expected to maintain a safe and reasonable distance from the athletes and refrain from running alongside of the runners or on the actual course during the race. Coaches failing to comply with these caveats will be asked to leave the course area.