TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– “Cross country town USA” signs surrounded the crowd at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course on Wednesday, as officials hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a medical facility at the course.
The building was funded with $50,000 from the Indiana Destination Development Corporation, as well as matching funds from the Terre Haute Convention Visitor’s Bureau.
Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch spoke at the ceremony. She said the course benefits those outside of the running community.
“This is a great quality of life asset in addition to being an incredible sports competition asset here in the state of Indiana,” Crouch said.
Executive director at the city’s visitor’s bureau, David Patterson, said he was “very proud” of the facility.
“Thirty years ago, three gentlemen, John McNichols, Bill Welch, and Greg Gibson, conspired to come up with [the course] and put it into action, I hope we’ve exceeded all their expectations,” he said. “To add another element like this is very fulfilling.”
Indiana State track and field coach Jeff Martin said having a climate controlled building, as the season starts in August and ends in November.
“The fact that they could be whisked into a climate-controlled building, and be able to be worked on in private, without having mom, dad, teammates, other teams watching, is pretty extraordinary,” Martin said.
Patterson said the course brings in about 40,000 visitors each year, and Martin believes this addition was important given the widespread number of athletes who use it.
“If we’re going to claim to be the best cross country course in the nation, we have to provide the best amenities and facilities possible for the athletes,” he said. “To have the nation’s eyes on this facility year after year, is something special and we shouldn’t take for granted.”
The course will host 16 races this year, with the first on Aug. 13th and the last, the Nike Cross Midwest Regional Championship, taking place in November.