A Closer Look at the Proposed Settler's Hill Cross-Country Course

A Closer Look at the Proposed Settler’s Hill Cross-Country Course

 Cross Country generic


  • Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of articles sharing text and graphics from the Settler’s Hill Cross County Feasibility Study.

The most recent design consideration for a proposed $3.88 million cross-country course at Settler’s Hill in Geneva is the result of the Weaver Boos Consultants’ design report that was submitted to Kane Country in October 2014. The plans were drafted with the goal of developing a championship level cross-country course that would serve as the premier location for Illinois high school and collegiate cross-country events.

County residents could also use the course when not programmed for scholastic or other competitive events. The location of the site presents several design challenges, primarily that excavation into the landfill cannot occur in order to preserve the integrity of the landfill cap.

Therefore, any alterations to the topography of the site must be completed by adding soil material onto the landfill cap. With input from the USA Track and Field and the client, it was determined that the course optimally would be designed to have the ability to host 2k, 3k, 4k, 3-mile, 5k, 6k, 8k and 10k races. WBC used the 2013/2014 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross-Country Rules as the guideline. The major requirements for a regulation cross-country course are listed below.

  • All runners are equidistant from the start line to the first turn.
  • The first turn cannot be less than 600 meters from the start line. However, the NCAA Rules Committee is expected to reduce this to 400 meters, as it is not easily feasible at most existing locations.
  • The course width shall not be less than ten meters wide and, if possible, a one-meter wide obstacle-free zone on the outside and inside of the course.
  • The last 200 meters of the course must be straight, flat and at least ten meters wide.

The potential incline of the course is another significant design feature that must be considered very closely. The site currently has several areas that are very steep and must be altered to make it possible for a cross-country course to be developed. The design proposes no incline greater than 8 percent and any inclines at these levels are to be restricted to the shortest distances possible. Moreover, WBC implemented runner recovery areas, or areas of very little incline, after stretches of the course that would have steep inclines.

The start wedge for the course is proposed to be located in the center of the hill. This was the only configuration that allowed for all categories of races and was feasible given the physical constraints of the site. The design proposes the construction of a parking lot at the northeast corner of the site, which would be accessible via the Fifth Third Bank Stadium north access road.

However, the primary event parking is to be in the Kane County Cougar and Forest Preserve District parking lots. Pedestrian trails will lead from the parking lots to the start, prep and viewing areas of the course. Additionally, a shuttle or tram is under consideration to allow for easier travel from the course to the parking lots. Access to the main viewing area will also be possible from Fabyan Parkway to the south, which will use an existing landfill haul road. Lastly, additional pedestrian trails are proposed in and around the site to allow for access to various viewing areas.

Spectators’ Experience

The provision of adequate and appropriate sight lines for both seated and standing spectators at Settler’s Hill is an important part of achieving safe conditions as well as a quality experience. The Settler’s Hill Cross-Country Course is designed to provide quality sight lines throughout the venue that will alleviate excessive crowd movement and pressure on ingress and egress areas. The sizeable site will reduce spectator density along the course, while accommodating greater capacities than existing facilities like forest preserves.

A major part of the Settler’s Hill experience is watching the cross-country event. The overall experience of the event is affected by the sight lines that will be enhanced by the design and configuration of the course and the overall open hill. The superior views of the events on Settler’s Hill will enhance the attractiveness and potential revenue generating opportunities of such events.

The capital sourcing for the proposed project is expected to come from the county and/or the Forest Preserve District. However, specific funding sources have yet to be determined. Initial costs for the construction of the Settler’s Hill Cross-Country Course have been estimated at $3.88 million.

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