The unique thing about high-school cross country courses is all have different layouts. That’s stating the obvious.
Often, one section of the layouts that are often similar are the flat starts. Hills within the course, uphill and downhill, often come later.
The Great Meadow course where the Virginia High School League has held state championship races for many years begins with a long straight away, and ends that way as well.
One of the few area courses that does not have a flat beginning, though, is that at Burke Lake Park. There, right away the runners have to climb a significant hill, where the upward terrain begins just a handful of strides from the starting line, with the steepest part lasting a bit more than 100 yards or so.
Some runners like that uphill start because they have explained it helps them work hard and focus immediately.
Many cross country courses also have flat finishing areas, like at Great Meadow’s. Again, Burke Lake Park is the opposite, with a downhill run to the finish, just steps away from the starting line. So it’s the same hill.
That makes the Burke Lake trek a unique cross country layout, because of its different beginning and end.
– Dave Facinoli