Running is for suckers

Photo by Hannah Cohen

Hannah Cohen, social media editor

For more than 20 years, KHS boys’ cross country has been running in the annual Blow Pop Race at Kirkwood Park, formerly known as Slo Poke. Originally, Slo Poke caramel lollipops were given to the top 10 runners of both the JV and varsity races.

“The joke was that if you were the first 10 across the line you would get a Slo Poke, because you really weren’t a Slo Poke.” Ruth Baldwin, NKMS science teacher and wife of coach Baldwin said.

The change in the name of the race happened a few years ago since the Slo Poke candy became outdated and ended mass production, since they were originated in 1926. As the candies became less popular, coaches were left to find a replacement candy and chose Blow Pops.

“You used to be able to get those caramel suckers,” Baldwin said. “As time went on you couldn’t find Slo Pokes, so they just changed it to Blow Pops.”

Usually, three schools compete in this laid-back meet, including KHS, Parkway West High School, Vianney High School and Kennedy Catholic High School. This year, only half of the traditional teams ran: Parkway West High School and KHS. For the two private schools, the date sometimes does not correlate with their schedule, resulting in this year’s absence of Vianney High School and Kennedy Catholic High School. Either way, the race goes on, resulting in less competition for the teams that are there when others have a no-show.

And this race being held on a late Monday in the month of September makes the weather really controversial, according to Baldwin.

“Sometimes it’s like ungodly hot, other times it rains,” Baldwin said. “[I think] this is the nicest weather we’ve ever had.”  

In the varsity race, the top five runners from the previous meet go on a tempo run together with the top five from the other teams, not participating in the race. They substitute JV runners who ran well in the last race for these top five, still making up a full group of runners combined with the remaining varsity. The rest of the JV team runs in the second race around the park, competing with a larger group of competitors than the varsity .

“The boys really like this meet,” Baldwin said. “ It’s their home park and they know the course, so it’s very fun for them.”

Austin Nico, senior, leads the team in a cheer before the race.

Photo by Hannah Cohen
Austin Nico, senior, cheers on the team before the race.

Wayne Baldwin, boys' cross country coach, sets off the gun for the JV Blo Pop race.

Photo by Hannah Cohen
Wayne Baldwin, boys’ cross country coach, sets off the gun for the JV Blow Pop race.

Finn Sinner and Kenan Dogan, sophomores, Bela Cseri, junior, and Jack Harre, senior, run on their third lap of the race.

Photo by Hannah Cohen
Finn Sinner and Kenan Dogan, sophomores, Bela Cseri, junior, and Jack Harre, senior, run on their third lap of the race.

Baldwin directs runners through the course in the JV race.

Photo by Hannah Cohen
Baldwin directs runners through the course in the JV race.

Jack Adams, junior, leads at the beginning of the varsity race.

Photo by Hannah Cohen
Jack Adams, junior, leads at the beginning of the varsity race.

 

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