Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning

Committee Chair(s)

Sean E. Michael


Sean E. Michael


Keith M. Christensen


Gregg Gensel


Literature suggests that the original and "pure" elements of cross country course design have faded through time; in order to wholly enhance course design the original elements must be preserved and united with desired modern course elements. "Pure" sport is defined by an athlete's struggle and persistence that occur amidst tough competition, rugged course elements, and physical pain. In addition to identifying the desired elements through literature review, case studies, and self-experience of cross country course design, it was necessary to confirm the desired elements through interviewing eight key informants. The key informants were renowned and accomplished NCAA cross country coaches selected to represent a wide geographic. These eight informants were interviewed to unveil which elements of cross country courses were desired, important, essential, would advance design, and are underutilized and present in their favored courses.

The results from the interviews confirmed a deep desire for enhanced course design by unionizing the elements present in the "pure" sport of cross country with contemporary desired elements. The new "pure" sport of cross country can be obtained through the utilization of the elements revealed within this thesis. Designing courses that will provide unchanged emotions from the "pure" sport of cross country, yet do not incorporate excessively rough course elements, will be the new "pure" sport of cross country.

Overall, the results show designing for the athlete, which includes safety, well defined routing and proper carrying capacity, an accomplished sense of place, advanced technologies and facilities, sport appropriate and safe footing and reasonable terrain, and spectator engagement, would considerably improve design. In order to preserve the "pure" sport of cross country while also integrating modern desired and necessary elements, course designers must use pioneering design methods in order to incorporate all of the desired elements.

The main objective of this research was accomplished and has established a foundation upon which subsequent research efforts may begin. This work serves as a catalyst to improving cross country course design by attaining the knowledge of proper, intensified, and innovative design.




This work made publicly available electronically on May 11, 2011.