Who should we contact for questions we have?
Please consult the website links for information about the program. Additionally, this list of FAQ may provide answers to some questions. The FPYC Running Program Co-Directors, Geoff and Lynda Hymans, may be contacted as needed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How old does my child need to be to join the team?
Children must turn 5 by the start of the sport's season. For track and field, that would be turning 5 by early March. For Cross Country, that would be turning 5 by the end of August. Check the schedule for the season start date.
How much should my child be able to run to join the team? Kids will run the first day of practice and if they haven't been running at all, it will be challenging. They are more likely to get injured if they have not been running. It is best to have your child start running 3-4 weeks before the team practices start and work on building up the amount of time they can run. For cross country, it is helpful if they can run for 15-20 min depending on their age, without stopping. For cross country, the warm-up will be about a .25 mile and the loops they do during practice will be longer, depending on their age. Think about the race distance (see website for details) your child will be doing and have them work up to that. For track, it will depend on if they are a sprinter or a distance runner. Typically at track practices, the warm-up will be 1-2 times around the track plus a workout. Your child does not need to be fast. We do have a varied level of abilities, We do have some kids who have been on the team for a number of years, are fairly competitive, and don't completely stop running between seasons.
Is registration still open? We typically do not close registration until a few weeks after the season has started. If you want to register and are wondering if it is still open, go ahead and try to register on the website. If registration is no longer open, the system will not be accessible.
What is the cost of registration?
How do I register my child? Registration is available online with credit card payment on the www.FPYCsports.com website. This is the preferred method. There are also a few walk-in registration dates in the months leading up to the start of the season. If you want to pay by check, you need to do the walk in registration. There is also a paper registration method. This must be done if famiiles are requesting a reduced registration fee if their child meets the qualifications for that.
Can I show up on the first day of practice and register? We prefer that families not do this. If you cannot access registration online, we can complete a paper registration form. We prefer you contact us ahead of time so we are prepared with extra forms and possibly meet to get the form to you to fill out ahead of time. The first practice is always busy and taking the extra time to complete the paperwork is a challenge. Until the paperwork is complete and the registration fee paid, your child cannot start to practice.
Can we fill out the paper registration and pay later with a check? No. Families must pay the registration fee and complete the paperwork before the child can begin to practice.
Where should my child practice? I see locations in Fairfax and Lake Accotink. Your child should practice where it is most convenient for you to take him/her. Check out the "Practice and Meet Locations" link for more information about each site. You will need to click on "read more" to see the full details. For spring Track and Field, sprinters and field event athletes, need to attend the Fairfax locations to practice these events.
What team is my child on? Who is their coach? There are not different teams for running. There is not one coach assigned to only your child's group although we do typically have coaches that work with certain age groups. At every practice, we figure out which coaches are present and then the coaches get divided up to make sure we have enough to cover all the age groups. You will not get an email from your child's coach. Coaches do not have the contact information for all the team members. We (Lynda and Geoff Hymans) are the contact for the team.
What is included in the registration price?
We provide a season of instruction, encouragement, guidance, and fun. The club covers meet fees, and participants receive a team practice shirt. Participants receive ribbons for top 10 finishes for each event at each meet. At the end of the season, we have a team award banquet. At the banquet, everyone receives a team participation trophy, and the coaches distribute several other certificates and awards. Uniforms must be purchased and are a separate cost. See below.
Are there any additional fees?
How can I become a coach?
If we have to or want to withdraw, can we get a refund?
Please see “Additional Registration Information” under the main registration page. A $45 administrative fee is withheld from all refunds. Refunds will be provided, minus the $45 adminstrative fee, up until 2 weeks into the start of the season. At the current $75 registration charge, you will receive $35 back in the refund. Exceptions may be made for a time period after that if your child is injured and unable to participant for the remainder of the season.
Where and when are practices?
Please see the link for Spring Track and Field or Fall Cross Country for information. The actual meeting spots and details for the practice locations can be found on the Practice and Meet Locations link.
What events are there at cross-country meets?
What events are there for track & field?
What will practices be like?
What happens if the weather is bad?
Are parents required to stay at practice?
Do we have to come to every practice? Do we have to let the coach know if we will miss?
No. We do not take attendance at practice or meets. We understand that families miss practice for a number of reasons. We do not need to be notified if you will miss.
What should my child wear?
Please see the link for Uniforms/Clothing & Shoes. Additionally, one practice shirt is provided to every registered runner at the early practices. These shirts are only for athletes, not parents or non-registered siblings. Athletes are not required to wear these shirts to practices.
What do we need to bring to practice?
Athletes should wear appropriate weather related clothing/running shoes and bring a labeled water bottle. Please see the link for Uniforms/Clothing & Shoes.
Is extra water available at practice?
Van Dyck Park does have a water fountain but its working function cannot be guaranteed. Other locations do not have fountains. Athletes should bring enough water for the practice.
Do we have to buy a singlet and shorts?
Yes, if you child will participate in the meets. That is the team uniform for meets, and the cost is separate from registration costs. It is an across the board policy for all FPYC athletes to wear the team uniform when competing for FPYC. Just as you need to wear a specific uniform for a soccer, football, or basketball team, athletes need to wear the running uniform for meets. Athletes can wear something additional under the uniform such as a shirt or tights if the weather is cold.
How much does a uniform cost?
Didn't we order a uniform at registration?
Not exactly. The registration form asks for uniform size information so that the directors know the number of sizes to order. The directors then order the uniforms and then payment is made when the family gets the uniform.
Can I buy a different size uniform than I put on the registration form?
Yes. If the uniform doesn't fit, then you can get a different size. We try to order a few extras. It is first come, first served though.
How do we get the uniform?
Multiple days will be set up as uniform distribution days early in the season. We ask that parents make every effort to get uniforms on these days. Athletes must wear the uniform to participate at meets.
What is a bib?
Why does my child have to turn their bib in after each practice?
We do this to decrease the chance that bibs will get lost. We use these bibs at meets to identify the runners.
What's with the lollipops at the end of practice?
For a fun reward for practices, we provide ONE lollipop for each child at the end of practice when they turn in their bib. We ask that parents remind their children to only take one lollipop at each practice.
Why is my child in the 9-10 age group when he/she is only 8?
FPYC follows the USATF guidelines for age groupings. They compete in the age group determined by their age on December 31st of that year. Please see the link for Age Groupings.
What events and races am I doing at the next meet?
Participants choose the events in which they wish to compete. Most often there are not advance sign-ups or deadlines. Home meets are just show up, pick up your bib, and wait until the call for that event is announced. FPYC coaches will assist with team age group warm-ups. For regular cross-country meets, athletes report to the start line. Away meets are often run like home meets. We will have the bibs available for athletes to pick-up. All our athlete's numbers are provided to the away meet director and then athletes need to have their bib to run. If athletes are required to indicate their intent to run beforehand, then we use the Sign-Up Genius website to indicate intent to participate. At away cross-country meets, there are at times stipulations that runners compete at their official USA Track & Field (USATF) age-appropriate distances. At track meets, there is occasionally an event limit (for example, any four events, or no more than three running events). Away meet directors may limit the age allowed for participation to keep the meet moving along. Please see the link for Fall Cross Country for information related to cross country meets for the official events for the different age groups.
How do we know who the coaches are?
Coaches introductions will occur at the first practices/parent meeting and some attend the "Meet the Coaches Night." Coaches will wear FPYC shirts to identify themselves at practices and meets.
Will my child always have the same coach?
Coaches often work with the same age groups at practices. Not all coaches can make it to every practice though, so some days it is necessary to move coaches around to have enough for each group.
Are spikes (special running sneakers with spikes in the bottoms) necessary for racing?
Spikes are not required for racing but some athletes do like to wear them for racing. These shoes are typically lighter than regular running shoes and for cross-country races where the courses are grassy and sometimes muddy, runners may feel a better grip on the ground surface. There are specialized spikes for different track events. Running specific stores can offer advice shoes and on sizing.
What if my child leaves some of their clothes or water bottle behind?
At home practices and meets, we will collect belongings that are left behind and bring them to practices. We typically have a lost and found bag/bin available near the bib pick-up location. We donate items that are not claimed by the end of the season. We highly recommend that your child's name is on their water bottle.
I saw my child finish 1st. Why did they get a 2nd place ribbon?
At track meets, there may be multiple heats for the same age group and event. Therefore, your child may have finished first in their heat but overall placed second based on their time.
What is the extended-season?
Extended-season includes races that are qualifying races that advance runners on to National meets. Please see the link for Extended Season/Competitions for more information. Our regular season meets typical go into early November for cross-country and through May for track & field. The post-season qualifiers begin in late October/early November for cross-country and in June for track & field.
What happens when it gets dark in the fall at late season practices?
We have adjusted the start times for XC practices in the fall to accommodate the change in daylight. Once daylight savings ends in Nov., we typically practice at a local track.
Where will the post-season Junior Olympic races be this year?
Please see the link for the Extended Season/Competitions. When qualifying race information becomes available, we will post this and make the team aware via email.
How do I know if my child should try and qualify for Nationals?
The results from last year's National Championships can be found under "Meet Results." Results can also be found on the websites for USA Track & Field (www.usatf.org), Amateur Athletic Union www.aausports.org, and Cross-country Coaches National Youth Championships (www.youthcrosscountry.org). Parents may want to check the results from qualifying races and Nationals to help their child have realistic expectations. All athletes are welcome and encouraged to challenge themselves.
My child received a third place ribbon, but the results reflect a fourth place finish. Why is there a difference?
When compiling results there are many factors that might lead to mistakes or inconsistencies. We do put our timers and recorders under a bit of pressure to keep heats moving. It is forgivable for occasional mistakes to be made with bib number or stopwatch readings, penmanship and writing interpretations, or keystrokes into the database.
There is also a need to get results and awards out quickly. We try to resolve as much as possible before putting out results, but at some point we have to move forward. The most important thing to us is to eventually get the results right, however, and it is not uncommon for issues to be resolved after rewards have been distributed. Corrected or amended issues, even for just one person in one event, may affect multiple awards categories with a domino effect. The more events we are talking about, or the more people, the larger the effect.
For example, when what was interpreted as #647 and credited to a 9 year-old girl should have been #641, which is a 13 year-old boy – or when a runner who usually wears #674 might grab #647 by mistake. If a time for #647 is scratched and then credited to #641, then all of the other 9 and 10 year-old girls placing after that time actually should have been credited with a finish one place higher than what their ribbon and the results initially reflected (third place becomes second place, fourth place becomes third place, etc.). Similarly, when that same time is now inserted into the 13-14 boys results, some finishers may be bumped down a spot from what their initial ribbon reflected (fifth place should now be sixth, etc.).
Results are posted as soon as all the results have been entered into the meet database and reviewed by the directors and meet coordinator. For the athlete that initiates the investigation, we will issue the correct ribbon(s). However, we do NOT rerun awards and labels for the rest of the age group. We put the burden on the parents to always check updated results and if you let us know we will always issue a corrected ribbon – this goes equally for visiting teams. It is never too late to change results, and we aim to capture the meet as accurately as we can.
Something parents can do is to be aware of which heat your child competed in and make a note of your child's finish position and time or measurement. If you know the names of other competitors in the heat or your child can tell you which friend/teammate finished ahead of or behind them, this can help us sort out errors in the results.
Does FPYC Running participate in indoor track?
FPYC does not participate in training and entering athletes for indoor (winter) track & field. We will make families aware, via our email database, of local indoor racing opportunities that are sent to us. There is an indoor track at the Prince George's Sports & Learning complex in Landover, MD. The USATF website does have a calendar of events and some of these opportunities can be found there. Additionally, the Potomac Valley Assocation USATF website (www.usatf.org/assoc/pva/) has information about around the year running events. www.coachoregistration.com is another website that lists many races throughout the year.