Iowa extending girls cross country distances

January 21, 2015 / Track & Field
Iowa is joining a number of other states in extending girls cross country distances, a change that will take effect this fall.

Girls had been running 4,000 meters, but the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union’s board of directors voted in January to increase the distance to 5,000 meters, matching the boys.

The change isn’t uncommon. In fact, it has quietly taken place in other states over the last few years.

From the Des Moines Register:

In recent years, states have been adopting the longer distance. A civil rights complaint was filed in Wisconsin, alleging gender discrimination because girls ran shorter races. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights sent Wisconsin’s state activities association a letter regarding the matter in April.

Fewer than 10 states had been using the 4K measure. The civil rights investigation pushed several states to extend the girls’ distance. 

Nebraska went to a longer distance in 2013. Wisconsin adapted the 5K race this past fall.

National high school races are run at 5K, so the change makes sense to align with what girls might face on a higher level.


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