There’s a new game in town and it costs absolutely nothing.
Difficult to believe in our economy, but it’s a fact and the entire community is invited to participate.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University’s new Crooked Smile Trail cross country course is now available to the public for walking and/or running in a safe environment.
It’s a place for families and individuals to be kind to themselves by getting into better physical shape for the new year. It didn’t happen overnight – it took 10-12 months from first conversation to ready for competition.
The new course was made possible by donations of money and labor by Colton’s Run, Trace and Dena Sherrill, Page Surveying & Associates, Bushwackers Land Clearing, Herc Rentals, Healthy Hearts Oklahoma, Lone Star Railroad Contractors, and Southeastern’s Presidential Partners.
Throw in added sweat equity from Southeastern Director of Athletics and cross country coach Ron Hair, along with many, many others.
Coach Hair said, “I feel our course offers the aspects a championship cross country course should have. We have speed sections for acceleration and challenging sections for strength runners from rolling hills to steep hills.
“Crooked Smile Trail is spectator and coach-friendly as far as viewing races and getting the time on the mile splits. It’s scenic and definitely not boring.”
Cross country is Hair’s passion and he takes it very seriously. His vision includes wanting to develop a program that can compete for conference, region and national honors.
Southeastern has already hosted a junior high and high school meet in the fall with morethan 700 runners from 21 Oklahoma and Texas schools. This will be an annualevent that is expected to grow as more people learn about Crooked Smile Trail.
Southeastern hopes to host high school regional meets and down the road an NCAA Division II regional.
The new course will have a great economic impact on Durant. Eating establishments, gas stations, hotels and other businesses will benefit from cross country events.
The course will be available for Durant High School to practice and host meets, as well as community events such as charity fun runs.
All of this has been made possible through the vision and generosity of donors who want to see Durant become a viable running/wellness community.
Crooked Smile Trail is available to the public from dawn to dusk.
Baxter said, “With almost 30 years at Southeastern, coaching football and tennis and now involved with all sports, this is one of the more gratifying things I have been involved in, from seeing an unused piece of land turn into this reality and seeing how everybody got involved is really something special.”
Crooked Smile Trail is much like a farm, where there is something to be done every day.
Baxter said, “With a little vision and continued effort, Crooked Smile Trail offers unlimited uses for our community. It’s a place where entire families can run or walk and not have to worry about automobile traffic.
“Southeastern wants to see this become a great addition to an already-great place to live.”