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  • XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

    I ran this course in high school and as a master runner.

    I believe it is one of the most challenging xc course in the USA, perhaps the world.

    The 10k course is especially challenging. It is two loops with the last loop going up the infamous "Cemetery" Hill.

    In my opinion, the most challenging race is the annual 15k race which three loops. Back in the day when runners were hardier, the last loop would go up Cemetery Hill.

    Here's an excellent article that ran in Sunday's New York Times.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/ ... try&st=cse

  • #2
    Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

    Thanks for the link to the article - I had missed it.

    As a runner from the southeast, I only ran Van Cortlandt once (though it was the 15k). It was a joy to race there.

    I could name dozens of tougher courses in the US and overseas - but none with equivalent history.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

      They inducted several people into the Van Cortlandt Park Hall of Fame last Friday at the Millrose Games. All inductees had run the course in HS and College: Salazar, Centrowitz (Sr) and Liquori. Only Centro' showed up, but he gave a nice speech on what that course meant to him and the great runners and coaches he was able to train with at the venue.

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      • #4
        Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

        Originally posted by bruce3404
        They inducted several people into the Van Cortlandt Park Hall of Fame last Friday at the Millrose Games. All inductees had run the course in HS and College: Salazar, Centrowitz (Sr) and Liquori. Only Centro' showed up, but he gave a nice speech on what that course meant to him and the great runners and coaches he was able to train with at the venue.
        Without getting into the merits of who deserved to be in the HOF, Liquori ran the course in HS and college. Centrowitz ran the course in HS and a few meets as a freshman at Manhattan. Salazar ran it once as a HSer and, unless Oregon competed there in a meet I do not recall, did not compete there otherwise.

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        • #5
          Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

          The first time I saw Shalane run was at Van Cortlandt, in what was then called the Kinney Nationals.

          She took off like a bat... and had a huge lead heading into the cow path.

          Coming back onto the Parade Ground flats she still had a huge lead. Then about 200m from the finish line, she collapsed!

          I was glad that she recovered from whatever caused the collapse. I was also impressed by the fact that she didn't change her aggressive style of running.

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          • #6
            Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

            As a 440/880 guy trying just to survive Cross Country, I did not find the Van Cortland 2.5 mile course that bad. After the initial dash through the field, it was-up-up-up the first half, but then down-down-down until the long straight to the finish. I vastly preferred that to some other courses (e.g. Garrett Mountain in NJ) with lots of uphill running at the end.

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            • #7
              Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

              I ran the 5 mile course there in college, fall of 1970. It was tough going, but exhilarating at the same time.

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              • #8
                Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                Originally posted by Halfmiler2
                As a 440/880 guy trying just to survive Cross Country, I did not find the Van Cortland 2.5 mile course that bad. After the initial dash through the field, it was-up-up-up the first half, but then down-down-down until the long straight to the finish. I vastly preferred that to some other courses (e.g. Garrett Mountain in NJ) with lots of uphill running at the end.
                I loved the uphill stuff at the end; you might even say it separated the distance runners from the non-distance runners. We ran at Pierce College which is still the site of the LA City championships. At that time the course was only 2.1 miles (we called it Highway 2.1, with apologies to Dylan). With about 1/4 mile left in the course, there was a hugely steep grade of roughly 75 yards. It wasn't called "Puke's Peak" for nothing.

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                • #9
                  Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                  Originally posted by cornstarchwilson
                  The first time I saw Shalane run was at Van Cortlandt, in what was then called the Kinney Nationals.
                  Northeast Regionals. The Nationals have been held only in San Diego and Orlando.

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                  • #10
                    Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                    Originally posted by kuha
                    I ran the 5 mile course there in college, fall of 1970. It was tough going, but exhilarating at the same time.
                    Dave Merrick from Lincoln Way in Illinois had the course record for the 5 mile course for years.

                    As for myself, I ran the TAC XC Nationals there in 1987. It did not go well.....

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                    • #11
                      Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                      A lot of people speak lovingly of VCP; I wonder how many of those ran in the '68 or '69 NCAA? Look at the December cover here

                      http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/index. ... ticles/137

                      The caption in the magazine read, "It's rush hour in New York City. Just after a mile in in the NCAA... nearly all the 233 starters remain in a massive traffic jam on the narrow VCP trail. the lucky few out front who can extend their legs fully...."

                      My best friend in college, former HS 2M Recordholder Rick Riley, hated it when he ran in '69. He was the kind of runner who started slowly and finished strongly (I know, shame on him for not realizing what the course would be like and adjusting) and he got caught in the ruck. He ended up 19th. As I recall, he said he passed 50 guys in the last half-mile and was still steaming through people at the finish.

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                      • #12
                        Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                        Originally posted by gh
                        A lot of people speak lovingly of VCP; I wonder how many of those ran in the '68 or '69 NCAA? Look at the December cover here

                        http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/index. ... ticles/137

                        The caption in the magazine read, "It's rush hour in New York City. Just after a mile in in the NCAA... nearly all the 233 starters remain in a massive traffic jam on the narrow VCP trail. the lucky few out front who can extend their legs fully...."

                        My best friend in college, former HS 2M Recordholder Rick Riley, hated it when he ran in '69. He was the kind of runner who started slowly and finished strongly (I know, shame on him for not realizing what the course would be like and adjusting) and he got caught in the ruck. He ended up 19th. As I recall, he said he passed 50 guys in the last half-mile and was still steaming through people at the finish.
                        I can sympathize. When I ran in 1987, I did the first mile in 5:07 or so, in a 10k race, and there were about 7 guys behind me, out of 300 or so. I passed quite a few after that, but it wasn't fun or easy, as there were few places to get around anyone.

                        Frankly, I suspect this 'love' for the VCP is more because of its long tradition, rather than its 'beauty'.

                        PS. It was Reilly's 2mile HS record that Pre beat, if I remember right.

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                        • #13
                          Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                          Lindgren to Riley to Pre to Virgin to Nelson to Fernandez.

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                          • #14
                            Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                            What is the "HS Federation" record these days??

                            I suppose they have a 3200 record now and it would be Fernandez from his state meet?

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                            • #15
                              Re: XC AT VAN CORTLANDT PARK

                              Originally posted by gh
                              Lindgren to Riley to Pre to Virgin to Nelson to Fernandez.
                              Yes, Riley, not Reilly. I guess that proves I knew it off the top of my head.

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