Running the Belmont Plateau
The History of Cross Country Racing at the Belmont Plateau
Home to the historic Belmont Mansion (site of the Underground Railroad Museum) and one of the best views of Philadelphia's skyline, the Belmont Plateau has been hosting cross country events for over 50 years. High school and college cross country competitors use the Plateau for races from 2K to 8K, with an estimated 80,000 runners hitting the Plateau each year. In 2015, through the efforts of Dave Thomas and the partnerships of the Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, restored trails with new, permanent markings were unveiled. In October 2017, Temple University hosted the American Athletic Conference collegiate cross country championship on the Belmont Plateau, further cementing it's place in cross-country history.
Become the Diadora King or Queen of the Hill
What better way to challenge yourself than to tackle a hilly course tucked in West Fairmount Park? Well, to make the race a little more interesting, we are proud to announce the Diadora King of the Hill and Queen of the Hill challenge. This course is a series of loops in the woods and around the playing fields of the Belmont Plateau. You will run up a hill known as Flagpole Hill (a former site for a flagpole) three times during the race. So, we challenge you to put down your best time. Timing mats will be placed on the hill and you will be able to review your splits. The fastest male and female over 18 and under 18 for this segment will be named the Diadora King and Queen of Flagpole Hill! Winners receive a pair of Diadora sneakers (woo!)
Prepare to Conquer the Plateau
We know everyone runs with unique goals, but few runners like race day surprises. So, we want you to feel prepared for the course. We love the Belmont Plateau for its beauty, its history, and its challenge. During the race, you will encounter four named hills--some of them more than once! They are: Flagpole Hill, Parachute Hill, Suicide Hill, and Nursery Hill. Don't worry, we have you covered. Our friends at Team Philly Race Training have put together tips to prepare for a hilly course, which you can check out here. We'll have cheer stations as well--so bring your buds to help cheer you up (and down) the hills!
A Special Note About Course Turns
Please note that the course includes loops inside and out of the woods and along playing fields on the Belmont Plateau. You will run up the first hill, Flagpole Hill, THREE times. After your third ascent, you will head towards the Army Road parking lot as in previous loops. However, you will turn left just after you cross the parking lot to head towards the finish (woot!) Don't worry, we will have course marshals to assist you. You can review course maps and an animated preview here (and start dreaming of Peanut Chews and pretzels at the finish line....)