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Saturday, October 10, 2015

Jack Saint Clair Invitational 2015

  "To run well, you have to be a bull."
-Jack Saint Clair, about his course.

I traveled to my favorite city today to check out the refurbishment of the Belmont Plateau Cross Country courses at the Jack Saint Clair Invitational.

Jack was Penn State's team captain in 1950 when they traveled to Michigan State to upset the home team for the National Championship.  The team included Horace Ashenfelter's brothers William and Don, Robert Freebairn, Dudley Foster, William Gordon and our Long Driver himself, Al Porto!

Jack was the long-time coach of Cardinal Dougherty High School (1956-1968) and then Temple University (1967-1983).  He actually created the course at Belmont Plateau in 1963.  He passed away in 2007.

In 1963, Mr. St. Clair and coaches from Villanova University and what was then St. Joseph's College designed the five-mile college course at Belmont Plateau. It is still considered a course with everything a runner could want: steep challenging climbs, rapid descents, grass and dirt trails, and spectacular scenery, including the Philadelphia skyline.
Flagpole Hill. The flagpole is now on top of the mansion.

Signs are everywhere for all distances (except the 6K!)

On a clear day you can still see William Penn's statue atop City Hall.

The 1 Mile Mark just as you enter the woods.

Parachute Hill is much more overgrown than I remember!

Team captain 1950 NCAA Champion Nittany Lions.

Start Line is a permanent fixture with 2 large poles.

Detailed course maps are available.
 And here's the results of the 17 team 1950 NCAA XC Championships:  (PSU 53 pts., MSU 55 pts.)


  1. Nice improvements. I didn't care much for that course when I was coaching at U. of Dayton, and we had to go there for the Atlantic Ten championships. Looked too much like a worn out urban park, broken glass on the course, thugs in the restaurants near City Centre where we had to stay. Much preferred the course in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh. Here on Vancouver Island the challenges are the occasional bear and cougar, and this time of the year the smell of rotting salmon carcasses. So where is the ideal place to run cross country? I guess we all love our home courses where we got to know it like another member of the family. We love and accept them with their flaws.

  2. This score proves the value of team work (29 second spread from 1-5) and the 6th man displacer!!


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