The Internet Home of Track & Field

Southeast Region
Veterans Park at Valleydale Rd, Hoover AL
November 24, 2007

about the course

the experts give their take on Veterans Park course

Steve Bedsole, SE Region Assistant Director

The first 500 meters is all open field grass to the choke, the course picks up a crushed gravel 10-feet wide path for the rest of the course, except there will be rubber mats on the road crossings.

There are 200 meter permanent markers on the course. It is plotted on an aerial photo and from the interactive map you can see the features and open vs. wooded sections.

The first 2,400 meters is deceptively flat with only a small hill coming off the bridge over the dam at 1,300 meters. At 2,400 meters you go through the tunnel and make a hard right to face greenhouse hill – a short, but very steep hill that plateaus at 2,600 meters. Then you drop and turn a hard left and drop again steeply into the woods where you begin a slow uphill grade from about 2,700 – 3,100 meters.

Just before the 3,200 meter mark you’ll make a sharp left and start down a steep 120 meter downhill with another sharp left at the base. You’ll wind through woods with moderate ups and downs until you hit the big hill just past the 4,000 meter mark. It is a steep gradient for about 160 meters. Once you pop the top, you’re on a small plateau and begin a long gradual recovery downhill that pops you out of the woods below the greenhouse. You’ll make a hard right back onto the trail just before the greenhouse hill and a hard left into the tunnel. When you pop out of the tunnel, you’ve got a 400 meter level run to the finish.

We are adding hay bales at about the 2,200 meter, 2,500 meter and 4,500 meter points on the course just to give them a taste of Portland Meadows.

A narrative from Coach Hind

The 5K course at Veterans Park on Valleydale Rd. is deceivingly tough. What seems like a relatively flat course has long gentle grades for much of the first 2,400 meters.

After exiting the tunnel the first time, the roller coaster ride begins. What seemed like insignificant hills during the pre-race jog, begin to take their toll on the unsuspecting racers through the woods. The packs of racers have spread way out by the time they head back through the tunnel for the final 400 meters of the “survival of the fittest” journey to the finish line.

The picturesque and challenging course leaves the racer wanting to race this course again – but most certainly on another day!

The City of Hoover welcomes all comers year-round to see if they can meet the challenges of this permanent cross country facility. There’s something for everyone here – picnic at one of the many pavilions, let the kids play on one of the playgrounds, play beach volleyball in the sand, fish, or just relax or by one of the lakes and watch others get their exercise on the XC trail.

Mountain Brook coach Greg Echols

Almost all gravel and the footing is good on most of the course.

The first 600 is on grass to get to a gravel trail, then the first mile is relatively flat. There are some small inclines and declines, but nothing to speak of.

The mile is slightly higher than the start. There are several sharp rounded turns in the first mile; nothing to slow you down, but not where you get out and just roll.

The second mile has a couple of decent straightaways and comes back by the crowd. There is one short steep hill, only 5 steps or so, but it will break your rhythm and then shortly after that a short quick drop. At this point you are heading back into the woods where you get on a combination of trails and gravel.

At about 2.25 miles, there is a really tough long hill. It will test the pack. When you come off the top off the hill you go down for 100 yards and head on a pretty long flat finish. It is a tough finish because you think you are almost done and it is still a pretty long stretch to the line.

NTN Southeast home page | NTN Southeast DyeStat News index