For those who are joining the Northwestern Track Club for the first time, this is Forget the Protocol, the best blog named after the Vampire Weekend song “I Stand Corrected”.  I present the official NUTC preview for the Benedictine Invitational…

You have decided to run the Benedictine Eagle Invitational. Nice work. As self-proclaimed “commissioner” of the Northwestern Track Club, I have absolutely no mandate to create a preview article like this. However, I like two things: writing and being needlessly sarcastic. This article was a good way to get both done.

Now here’s a picture taken on the course:


Doesn’t that look pleasant? Without further ado, here’s a preview of what to expect on the glorious, American fields of St. James Farm in Warren, Illinois.

In the picture, you may think you see a hill. It’s really not a hill. I would classify it as a molehill. That is one of two inclines on the entire course. Technically, the part of the course that exits the forested area is an incline, but for anybody who doesn’t live in the Midwest, there are no hills. This is conducive to good times (yay!) and boring terrain (boo!).

A picture of St. James the Greater, for whom St. James Farm is presumably named after.

The course is actually just one 2K loop. If you are a woman, you run it three times. If you are a man, you run it four times. I have very little idea why cross-country continues to shorten distances for women’s races, especially when everything is standardized at an international level. I mean, it would be so much easier for holistically training a team like the NUTC.

The nice part of having a 2 kilometer loop is that pacing becomes as simple as learning how to use the metric system. Judging from the large contingent of runners on this team who are not math/engineering students, I don’t think this will be a problem at all. No, Econ majors don’t count, you all are just as bad at simple track math as us “simpleton” journalism majors. Just remember that there are, like, a gajillion inches per kilometer and you can use that to calculate pace.

The other teams at this meet are our fierce rivals. The Benedictine Eagles have been fierce enemies ever since the first NUTC Wildcat stole a bag of bagels from an unsuspecting Eagle. Since then, the two teams have been at odds over their love of unhealthy breakfast items. The Bagel Cup has since been contested every year since 2007, even though nobody has any idea who currently has it. The winner of the coveted cup is determined by which team achieves a score that is also a prime number. If both teams have prime numbers or subprime numbers, matters are decided by an best of seven arm-wrestling match. We still remember Charlie Hoffert’s stunning 7th-round knockout of Benedictine runner Bastian Trinker in 2013.

Charlie “Bagel Thief” Hoffert just after his famous victory to seal the 2013 Bagel Cup.

In all seriousness, the men’s team finished second in this race last year, so we’re fairly competitive. We also beat Benedictine by 25 points and defended the Bagel Cup by achieving a score of 79, which is a prime number. On, where the results are available, you will not see any Northwestern runners because, apparently, having the Bagel Cup does not warrant inclusion on the prestigious “”. That’s nonsense. We all know who actually raced in the race, no matter what the Soviets at believe. Amateurs.

Tucker Johnson going for that Bagel Cup near the finish line.

The women’s team did not have enough scorers, and the Benedictine women’s team also had a score of 61, which is, yes, a prime number. You thought I was joking about this prime number thing? Actually yes, I am. Aurora had 61 and Benedictine had 120.We need to take the Cup back from Benedictine on the women’s side.

In the end, everyone running this race should expect a fast course, good competition and excellent views of the state that recently finished 48th in a list of the most beautiful states, according to some website. It’s lit folks, so lit that I had to shield my eyes from the sheer audacity of its illumination.

A bunch of runners who are totally looking at the camera. Stare closely at No. 8267’s face. He is totally smug and checking out the photographer. Now look at No. 8264, he’s clearly extremely bad at putting arms around shoulders or making sure his hair is in order. Note the arm position of No. 8258. Note No. 8265, who is making me sad because I miss Johnny a lot all of a sudden. This picture, and most other pictures, were from his camera.