Maryland 2002 Cross Country

the hellacious hills of Hereford

toughest 3 miles in cross country


by John Dye

PARKTON, MD 11/9/02 -- Uphill, downhill, sidehill, 90 degree turns on a slope. . . hardly a level step the entire way. That's the cross country course at Hereford HS, Parkton MD, 30 miles north of Baltimore.

The Bull Run Invitational and the Maryland State Meet are run at Hereford every year. It's "only" 3 miles, but no boy has ever broken 16 minutes, only three girls have broken 19 minutes. Out of state fans reading these results must think there aren't any good runners in Maryland. They haven't been here.

The infamous Dip is the centerpiece of the Hereford strength test. The Dip is a deep ravine in the middle of the course. Runners tackle it in the second mile, going down all the way to the bottom, where a small bridge crosses a creek, and then climb all the way to the top on the other side. After winding uphill, downhill, sidehill through woods and fields, the runners return for another crack at The Dip. Down to the bottom again and back up to the top -- this time with 2.5 miles under their belts. As they struggle up the last hill, you can tell who wants to win the most and who is beaten.

"It's not just The Dip," said Pat Bailey, winner of the Maryland 4A title here today. "It's the whole course. Even the start is a long uphill grind (about 600 meters)." His winning time of 16:11 is one of the better times ever run here.

the start - uphill, sidehill for 600 meters

half mile - right angle turn with lots of company

1200 meters - out of trees up a small hill

starting 2nd mile
after circling the baseball outfield, the only level stretch on the course, runners climb another hill

the fence -- runners gird for a 90 degree turn to the left
with the ground sloping away from the turn. Better hope it's not wet


the backhills

sloping switchbacks through woods and a former cornfield



The Dip

Fans line the hillside waiting for runners to return from the backhills.





below, 3A girls winner Ashley St. Denis shows how to climb out of The Dip.



the course takes its toll on some

Maryland State Meet


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