Cross-country season ended more than a month ago, but work is being done already to prepare for the 2007 season.
Construction crews are hard at work in preparation of the September 2007 opening of a public cross-country track in Columbia County.
"This will put us on the running map," Greenbrier cross country coach Katie Smallwood said.
Smallwood, along with Columbia County Parks and Recreation Department Park Supervisor Greg Dross, toured the new track Dec. 20 at what will soon be the 150-acre Blanchard Woods Park.
The park, located off of Blanchard Road, in Evans, will be home to several soccer fields and a 5-kilometer cross-country track that winds around the park's perimeter.
"It's definitely challenging," Smallwood said after walking the cleared trail where the track will go.
"Especially the last half of the course will make it a guts race. If it can be as challenging as the state course is, then that will just make the kids that much more prepared."
The track, which begins in an open field before taking a downhill slant for the first part of the course, will circle the park's rolling hills with a mainly 12-foot width, Dross said.
The second half of the course circles a natural pond with at least three bridges.
The finish line will stand only a few hundred yards away from the park's main entrance.
Dross said the course will also include a two-mile loop for middle school cross-country meets.
Once the park opens in September of next year, the cross-country track, along with the rest of the park, will be maintained by the parks and recreation department.
"We're going to maintain it ourselves with a full crew," Dross said.
"Part of their biggest job will be keeping that track up."
Smallwood said the new track, which will play host to several high school meets next year, is also fan-friendly.
"Part of the deal with the course is for spectators to be able to watch. That also helps the runners out." she said.
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