Hit the Ground Running: Enhanced Cross-Country Course Design at the University of Guelph Arboretum
This study explored the nature and needs of cross-country runners and running, particularly how sport facilities and courses can be best designed for training and competition events. The existing University of Guelph Arboretum cross-country course and users were studied using a qualitative, inductive approach. A site analysis was conducted to evaluate the course and identify opportunities and constraints for further cross-country development. A semi-structured interview method was used to collect information on the needs and preferences of athletes, coaches, and Arboretum staff. Interview data was analyzed to develop themes and connections for necessary and desired elements of cross-country course design. Findings suggest that runners and coaches desire a safe, adaptable course richly varied in terrain, materials, scenery and close contact with spectators. A design framework was developed from these findings and applied to the Arboretum site to create an enhanced course. This research will help inform future cross-country course design.