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I'm Ali Rae and I love building brands.
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Just. Keep. Running. One foot in front of the other. That’s what I tell myself during every cross country, track, and road race that I have ever run. In fact, I told that to myself at this exact course at least twice throughout my high school running career. Fast forward seven years, and I am back to capture all that is the Fork Union Hardy Cross Country Invitational!
This year was the 20th annual running of this invitational and it has grown so much! Fork Union graciously hosted 46 teams of runners from various schools all across the state of Virginia. The smooth running of this meet is a testament to the flawless planning of head coach Winston Brown and all the staff at Fork Union Military Academy. Through the efficient posting of scores, the running of the start and finish line, and the hospitality tent complete with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and bagels—it is clear that they have this meet running like a well-oiled machine. The course is scenic with a mile or so in the woods with a daunting hill that catches most everyone off guard the first time they run it!
Of course, there’s a little (or a lot) back story on our (both me and my husband/second shooter/one who keeps me sane, Caleb) affiliation with Fork Union and Fluvanna County. I ran cross country and track in high school under my coach, Rose Brogan, at Fluvanna County High School. Rose is Caleb’s mom. Caleb ran cross country and track in high school at Fork Union Military Academy (FUMA), which is also in Fluvanna County, under head coach Winston Brown. Caleb and his brother Jeremy both graduated from FUMA. Caleb’s dad taught at FUMA for years; my mom still works there in the registrar’s office. My brother also graduated from FUMA. Now we return to witness this race, where my mother-in-law is still coaching the Fluvanna team, and my sister-in-law is now running her final FUMA XC Invite as it is her senior year. Needless to say—our roots run deep in the Fluvanna/Fork Union running community, which makes it all the more honor to document this event.
Oh, and of course, the cannon that signifies the start of the race is a unique touch. 🙂
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