College runners from across Canada are gearing up to hit the Muskoseepi Park trails. For the second time since 2007, the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Cross-Country National Championships will be hosted by Grande Prairie Regional College.

Athletic Manager Thomas Slifka says this year’s event is special for a number of reasons.

“We’re the first college to host this event twice and it’s a great opportunity; we’re glad we get to bring it back to GPRC. Also, our two co-coaches are retiring after this race and they’ve been with our program for 30 years so its a great way to send off their amazing careers.”

225 athletes are participating in this year’s event and will be running a six or an eight-kilometre race through the park.

With freezing temperatures and more snow in the forecast, Slifka says they are monitoring the weather but adds he’s not too concerned about Mother Nature.

“Naturally, cross country runners are accustomed to running in any sort of condition. The only thing it would affect is just the removal of snow the day of but we’re not too concerned; cross country runners are a pretty resilient crew.”

Along with the main event, there will also be a five and a 10-kilometre community race, which is open to the public. That will start at 9 a.m. on November 9th. People are able to register online until November 8th.

Nationals will take place on November 9th with the women’s race starting at noon and the men’s race starting at 1 p.m.