To many Minnesotans, it has become something like a rite of passage, or a second version of the State Championships. It's one last shot at running the best time of your career. It's a chance at redemption if the regular season or the State Meet didn't end as one had hoped. And it is, of course, a chance to face off against some of the best athletes from states that, under normal circumstances, they would never have otherwise even though possible to be competing against.
The Nike Heartland Regional is possibly the only cross country event that can rival the anticipation and hype of the State Championships, and it's popularity has reached a point that it isn't just expected that Minnesota's fastest runners and best teams will come back for one more shot, but it's assumed. And as the popularity of the meet has grown over the years, so has its reputation as one of the fastest, friendliest courses that Minnesota athletes will ever compete on. Of the 17 fastest Minnesota girls 5k times in Milesplit's database, nine of them were run at the Heartland region, as were eight of the 22 fastest times for Minnesota boys, and the number of total Minnesota athletes who ran the best time of their high school careers at this course is too numerous to count.
So without further ado, here are the top 2000 times ever run by Minnesota athletes at the Nike Cross Heartland Regional!