The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa Foundation News Release

Oct. 29, 2004

photos: Iowa Hawkeye women and men's cross country student-athletes compete on the Ashton Cross Country Course during a September meet against Eastern Illinois. Both Iowa teams won. Photo credit: Bob Goodfellow

UI's New Ashton Cross Country Course To Be Dedicated Oct. 31

The University of Iowa will dedicate its new Ashton Cross Country Course on Sunday, Oct. 31, immediately prior to the 2004 men's and women's Big Ten Cross Country Championships. The public is invited to attend the dedication and the competition.

The Ashton Cross Country Course is adjacent to the UI Athletics Hall of Fame on Hawkeye Park Road in Iowa City, accessible from both Mormon Trek Boulevard and Melrose Avenue. When not being used by the UI teams for practice or competitions, the course will be available for recreational use by members of the UI and surrounding communities.

The course is named in recognition of the generosity of brothers Bill Ashton and Jim Ashton, who contributed a total of $30,000 to the UI Foundation to enable the course's construction. Both brothers are graduates of the UI College of Engineering and longtime UI contributors. They made their gift in memory of their former Hawkeye cross country coach, the late Francis X. Cretzmeyer.

Bill Ashton (1962 B.S.C.E., 1963 M.S.), of Davenport, Iowa, is a letterwinner for the Iowa Hawkeyes cross country team and a former UI Varsity Club president. Dr. Jim Ashton (1964 B.S.C.E.), of Dallas, Texas, received a UI Distinguished Alumni Award in 1989 and is also a letterwinner for the Iowa Hawkeyes cross country team.

The Ashton Cross Country Course dedication ceremony will begin Sunday, Oct. 31, at 9:45 a.m., with comments by UI men's head cross country coach Larry Wieczorek, UI women's head cross country coach Layne Anderson, cross country letterwinner Sarah Arens and Bill Ashton. The women's Big Ten Championship 6K race will begin at 10:45, with the men's Big Ten Championship 8K race beginning at 11:30. Presentation of awards and a reception will follow.

UI men's head cross-country coach Larry Wieczorek hailed the course, and the gift making it possible, as essential to the future of UI cross-country.

"Bill and Jim Ashton have been good friends of our program for many years," Wieczorek said. "We are extremely grateful to Bill and Jim for allowing us to achieve our long-held dream of providing our student-athletes with a course worthy of their efforts and talent. The new course will help us give many more young people the kind of experiences Bill and Jim had as Hawkeyes, and will give our fans an excellent venue for cheering on our runners."

UI Athletics Director Robert A. Bowlsby echoed Wieczorek's praise for the Ashtons' generosity. "With this gift, Bill and Jim Ashton have significantly advanced the women's and men's cross country programs at Iowa," Bowlsby said. "Their thoughtfulness will benefit the UI and the surrounding communities for many years to come. I join Coach Anderson, Coach Wieczorek and all our cross country student-athletes in expressing our heartfelt thanks."

The course can accommodate races of 5,000, 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 meters. Features include a 2,000-meter perimeter and a layout that enables spectators to view the entire race, from start to finish, from one vantage point.

Private gifts are still being accepted for the course; supporters may make a contribution online by visiting

The Ashton gift is part of the UI's $1 billion comprehensive campaign, which will run through 2005 and is being conducted under the guidance of the UI Foundation. Named "Good. Better. Best. Iowa: The Campaign to Advance Our Great University," the seven-year effort is raising private funds to help launch a variety of initiatives across the university, substantially increase the number of UI scholarships and endowed faculty positions, support new educational and research facilities, build the UI's endowment and fund outreach and service programs to benefit Iowans.

The UI acknowledges the UI Foundation as the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the university.  For more information about the "Good. Better. Best. Iowa" campaign, visit its web site at

STORY SOURCE: UI Foundation, P.O. Box 4550, Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550

CONTACT(S): Media: Jana Michael, Director of Development, Athletics, Major Gifts and Women's Programs; 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973, Writer: Nic Arp

PHOTOS/GRAPHICS: Photos for this story are available for downloading at:



For more information on the UI Foundation and its support of the UI, go to its web site at