By Tommy McClellan
The race was exhilarating. I was representing Philadelphia Runner Track Club, or PRTC, for the first time while racing on the 5K course at Belmont Plateau in Philadelphia. It was hilly! So hilly! People hike Mt. Everest and think "At least I didn't have to race Belmont Plateau!" I may just be being a baby about hills, but have I mentioned it was hilly?
You start the race by doing about a mile loop in a field that has a few ups and downs. Then you go into the woods (which is very scenic) and face an even bigger hill. It's a killer, but there's a nice recovery downhill after it. From there you do a bit more running in the woods until you exit the woods where you entered with a mile to go. You then do the same loop in the field you did in the beginning. Everything is marked really well so you won't get lost, don't worry
This race embodies everything the sport of XC stands for - minus the bloody nipples (but I can't speak for everyone). It was raining, muddy, cold, and I kept asking myself "Is the dress blue and black, or white and gold?" That question isn't related to the race, but it's something that consistently boggles my mind as I may have OCD (But that's to be determined by my doctor).
So if you're reading this and wondering how to participate in this race, I have horrid news. You can't! It got banned by the FDA for selling expired hot dogs. Just kidding - you totally can. It's a yearly race and you can sign up here. The 2018 fee was as low as 12 dollars and as high as 30 dollars, so I assume it'll be around the same next year.
I highly recommend this race to anyone who loves Cross Country and wants to get in a spirited race early in the season. I really appreciated what they do with this race by honoring the sport of Cross Country. It's hard to find XC races after high school and college, so this brought back great memories and the familiar love of the sport.