We asked a simple question last month.
Who has the toughest course in Tennessee?
And we got a couple submissions for one place in Northeast Tennessee.
Steele Creek Park in Bristol.
I saw the "Hardest Course in Tennessee" article and thought it was funny since I had been talking with some teammates on this very topic during our run today.
By far, the hardest course I've ran (in any state) is the course at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, Tennessee. A fairly large race, the Bristol Cross Invitational, is hosted on the course every year, and our school's conference meet (The Big 11 conference) is also held there.
The attached pictures are all from conference meet last October, a race that is still fresh on my mind from how much it hurt to finish it. The course at Steele Creek, for those not familiar, is two loops, which is already a downer, because no one likes passing by the finish line halfway through the race. The downhill start of the race allows for a fast start, and at this race, I remember feeling like I was sprinting through the first half mile.
It had already spread out some by the mile mark, and I was running with my friend Taylor Roy who I often raced with. Seeing the clock at the mile mark, I realized we had gone out about 10-15 seconds faster then I usually did, but I still felt fine at that point.
The thing worst thing about Steele Creek is the back section if the course, which is filled with repeating rolling hills. These hills are not the steepest or the longest hills that you'll run on, but there is something about them that is just brutal. The two mile mark is around where you reach the hills on the second loop, and that is where I hit a wall.
I remember hitting the first of the set of hills after passing the two mile mark and just feeling myself significantly slow down, my legs barely lifting. Taylor started getting farther away, and while I held my place, that last mile was the worst I've ever felt during a cross country race.
I'm sure anyone else who has gone out too fast on the Steele Creek course, or just raced there at all, can attest to the pain it can bring. Therefore, I believe it is the hardest course in the state of Tennessee.
Sounds pretty convincing.
Have a better one? Let us know -- DETAILS HERE.