The Kirkwood Call

Top 5 cross country courses

Photo+courtesy+of+Gina+Woodard
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

Grace Murphy

Grace Murphy

Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

Grace Murphy, copy editor

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It’s race day. You think about the course and the race. How are you going to prepare yourself? What are your goals? What did you do last season that you can change today? Every race is different, and every course is different. I decided to rank my top five favorite cross country courses from my experiences after running for 3 years and running on many different courses.

#1 Course – Hazelwood West Invitational
Location: Koch Park
The Hazelwood West Invite is my favorite course because of how flat and fast the course is. This course only has one hill and a long downhill right after. This meet takes place on a Friday after school, which isn’t the best because it is usually warmer weather in the afternoon. But it gives you time to hydrate and you don’t have to spend the morning worrying. Another nice part about this race is the finish. It is wider and gives you space from other runners as well as enough space to pass people. Because of the flat and faster course, runners are able to gain a new personal record at this meet.

Grace Murphy
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

#2 Course – Parkway West Dale Shepard Invitational
Location: Living Word United Methodist Church (UMC) Campus
This cross country course is a close second to the Hazelwood West Invitational. The Parkway West course is mainly flat with one hill at the end of the loop, which is shorter and steep. This meet takes place towards the September, making it the perfect running weather, usually 60 to 70 degrees. This race takes place on a Saturday morning, so it can be hard to wake up and have to hydrate and eat before the race.

Grace Murphy
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

#3 Course – Stan Nelson Invitational
Location: Northwest Early Childhood and Senior Center
Let me start off by saying this course is one of the flattest courses the team run during the season. Even though this course is fast and you can get a personal record, it can also be super muddy depending on the weather. Two out of the three times I ran this course, it rained before the day of the meet and caused the course to be extremely dirty. Running in a lot of mud throughout the whole course makes it challenging, like bringing your feet out of ankle deep and running through many puddles. However, this is a fast course when it isn’t muddy.

Grace Murphy
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

#4 Course – Suburban Conference Championships
Location: McNair Park
The conference meet is another flatter course but has a few hills, which aren’t challenging. This course is fast with teams that you are able to compete against and that push you to run harder. The finish is one of the best finishes because it is wider and longer than most meets. The only problem with the finish is it is on a gradual incline, which can be hard because it is the end of the race and you are tired.

Grace Murphy
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

#5 Course – Parkway Central Invitational
Location: Parkway Central High School
The meet is on a Thursday after school, and it is usually very warm during this time of the season. This course requires you to run the same loop twice and it has multiple long hills. The first hill you have to run up feels like it is never going to end and is mostly gravel, that isn’t fun to run. The best part about this course is running through the woods. It is all shade and part of it is flat, but there is a long, steep hill at the end, that can be hard. One of the things I disliked about the course was the finish because, it is short and makes it hard to pass people. It also starts right after you take a turn making it difficult.

Grace Murphy
Photo courtesy of Gina Woodard

About the Contributor
Grace Murphy, copy editor



Interests: cross country, track, hanging with pals, hammocking, the custard station
Favorite quote: “Do small things with great love” - Mother...

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