Great Meadow State XC Course
Start - 400m: The start area is in the "big field" and even though they "cut" the grass it is usually pretty tall. We'd estimate the grass is 9 inches or so. That means pushing yourself harder for that first 400m until you reach the fence line.
400 - 800m: Here you ride along the fence line and the grass is much shorter. It isn't as short as Pole Green but it is a whole lot better than the big field. You follow the fence line for roughly 400m and for the most part it is a general uphill that flattens out 2/3 through.
800 -1200m: CHANGE: Here the course will follow along the fence line and not go in the woods.
1200 - Mile: Once again you're just on the inside of the fence and the grass is not too long. You go under one tree and then make a gradual left turn down hill (200m) to the mile mark. The mile mark being just before the trees. (4:20 in the drone footage)
Mile -1.5 Mile: Directly after the mile there is a quick rise in elevation... some would call it a hill and others wouldn't so we will just say quick rise... that follows with a long "U" around the fence on both sides. Athletes then head down the hill again, this time on the other side of the fencing and cross the creek.
We won't know if the water will be high until meet time but considering the course has received very little rain you can expect the creek to be its lowest in recent years. Cold though. The creek is almost exactly halfway into the race.
1.5 Mile - 2 Mile: Here athletes will make a long "S" up and around "Festival Hill". They will follow the tree-line and then take a quick downhill right hand turn to the two mile. The two mile mark being about 150m from the rocks. (8:15 in the drone footage)
2 Mile - Entering The Big Field: Here athletes will go down a hill and then right alongside the gravel road summit two uphill climbs. The first being more drawn out while the second is steep. These hills are within the first 600m after the two mile mark.
Athletes then have reached the highest point in the course and will run around the bus parking area to follow the small gravel road alongside the fence to then head down and after a quick right turn re-enter the big field.
The homestretch: From the re-entering the big field to the finish is roughly 700-800m. Almost any big name coach would say this is where the race is won or lost. The terrain is once again "shorter" grass and the incline is gradual uphill. It will make kicking a little easier in our opinion because you will be able to exert a good amount of effort to speed up while not going to fast... think of it being a constant windup for the finish.
Here athletes run right alongside their cheering teams, parents, and supporters and can see the judges stand off int he distance. The race finishes just in front of that landmark. It will however seem very small and anyone who has raced this course knows that it is deceivingly far away from when you re-enter the big field.
Here you can also see the Green Hill Park course via drone footage, produced earlier this year for the annual Knights Crossing Invite.
Start - 800m: Here the start line is roughly just as wide, it is however right next to the team area and bumps up with on corner to the finish line area as well. That makes for some loud and exciting starts. With it just being a square to start making three right hand turns in the first 800m it means the athletes are always close by and things will be hype. This could honestly cause some runners to get out way harder than they should.
800m - Mile: Here is the biggest "hill" of the course. It is maybe a 10 stepper but it is the only place on the course with quite a rise. It will cause athletes to change their strides but aside from that should not have any adverse affect on the pacing.
From there athletes go straight down a cinder/gravel road on the left hand side and head out to the equestrian center. That is where the mile mark is right when the athletes enter that area. (3:40 in the drone footage)
Mile - 1.5 Mile: This in our opinion could be the most crucial part of the course/race. If athletes are not in ideal position things could get very tight. Here athletes double back along the gravel road on their own left hand side again (opposite of the way they headed out) for about 600m. Athletes then will make a left hand turn straight thru the middle of tent city where cheers should definitely help them along. The course here follows the gravel road and then makes a left hand turn over the creek and concrete culvert.
1.5 Mile - 2 Mile: Here athletes will be back on a mix of cinder/dirt and short grass to the two mile mark. This will be on the opposite side of the tree line as the start line area.
2 Mile - 2.5 Mile: Here is another choke point for making moves. Things can get tight in the bigger invitational races with the course following the tree line and making a right hand turn around the trees while also running on the side of a road. There is plenty of space for the state meet races of only 104 athletes but be aware that if there are runners running side by side it could get tight.
2.5 Mile - 3 Mile: At this point athletes are running on either very short grass or the edge of the gravel road as they head back to the start line area (but just askew to that path). They then make a pretty sharp left hand u-turn to head back out just like the start of the race but further out this time. There they make a big loop around the outside of the big field and follow it by a long 400m+ straightaway to the three mil mark.
Homestretch: Here athletes will make a gradual right hand turn into the finish. This area is difficult for a full on sprint but you can move fast in the turn. Just be aware that the finish line comes right up on you after that turn and that athletes need to make their move before the turn and not after!