The course for the 2013 USA Cross Country Championships is located right in the middle of one of the nation's largest and most historic City parks. Forest Park, home of the 1904 World's Fair and the 1904 Olympic Games, features more than 1,290 acres of entertainment including the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, the Saint Louis Zoo and more. The Park has hosted a number of major running events and its history with cross country goes back 107 years when the sport was featured as an event in the 1904 Olympics. More recently Forest Park played host to the 2004 US Olympic Trials- Womens Marathon and Central Fields was the site of the 2009 Atlantic 10 Cross Country Championships. For more info on Forest Park click HERE.
The course begins on a 400 meter wide-open straightaway before making a very gentle 180 degree turn. The runners then continue on the east side of the top of the field. On the first and last loop of every race runners will take the shorter path toward the very north end of the field where they will then make a left and run parallel to the road before heading into the pine tree section. As the runners exit the pine trees they will have a slight climb before heading back down along the prarie grass on the west side of the course. This section rolls before reaching the far southwest point of the course just past the one mile mark. Runners then climb a slight hill before once again reaching the top of the fields. If they are on their finishing loop they will then have about 400 meters to the finish. If they are continuing on they will head toward the middle of the fields where they will re-join the loop. The only difference for 2nd, 3rd, 4th,and 5th loops (depending on the race distance) will be a right hand turn about 500 meters into each loop that takes runners downhill toward the far northeast point of the course followed by an uphill that takes them back onto the same path as the first loop.
The course can be described as fast but fair with flat to rolling terrain and good footing. Click HERE for photos of the course.
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It's February so it could very well be COLD. Expect true cross country conditions with an average high of 44 degrees and an average low of 26 degrees.