Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Aarhus World Cross Country - The Berm

Feel "The Berm"
by Mark Cullen/ © 2019 All Rights Reserved
The warning tape says it all.
Coming around the corner from the Moesgaard Museum Roof 
around the dreaded Berm and uphill again.

"The course is the thing," said Shakespeare.

Or was it Jakob Larsen?

Larsen is the brilliantly inventive Meet Director of the 2019 Aarhus, Denmark, World Cross Country Championships.

Widely viewed as the saviour of modern cross country, Larsen has designed a course so imaginative, so creative, so inspired and so spectacular that it leads to only one conclusion: this is one of the greatest cross country courses ever conceived.

It reaches back to the sport's chasing steeples - and rabbits - roots.

It reinvents the term "over hill and dale" - it's only hill and dale.

If you say, "It feels like I'm running through mud."

You are.

"It feels like I'm running through water."

You are.

"It feels like I'm running through sand."

You are.

"It feels like the course never stops rolling."

It does not. There's not a square inch of flat anywhere out here.

And where is here?

Why the top of a museum roof - as if to seal the deal.
Up on the Roof
Moesgaard Museum
Aarhus, Denmark
Note the pitch of the museum roof - this is one steep uphill.

Start/Finish Line
Competitors will run up and down the museum roof 5 times.
The far reaches of the course behind the museum
with the Club Tent Zone at the top of the hill.

The Mud Pit
The finest mud Denmark has to offer.
The finest mud in Denmark deserves a close up.
Are you ready for your close up - or face plant, as the case may be?
You just can't avoid the mud.

Note the unevenness of the turf - and hence the footing.
It is like this the entire way.
The Berm
Go screaming downhill and hang a right - then back uphill.
5 times
Run wide on this one, run wide.
Blessed be the volunteers who put out all the fencing.
The filling of the water pit on Tuesday afternoon.
So pleased to be able to claim the first action shot of #2019Aarhus.
We couldn't do this without the volunteers, true.
Remind me why I volunteered for this job, he says.

This man stood there for hours Tuesday afternoon 
watching the water pit fill.  
Of course, I stood there for hours watching him watch the water pit fill.
I'm looking forward to having you join me on this wonderful ride to see the very best the world has to offer in cross country running.

Much more to come...

A brief note to Jonas and Jakob, two Danish law students I met on my course walkthrough Tuesday afternoon. Our conversation was memorable, to be sure. We ran the gamut from global warming to US politics and back again, and your statement, Jonas, that what we need is "fundamental change" will stay with me for a long time to come. I wish I had thought to take a photo of the two of you for posting here in this story. If you are comfortable with that and would like to send me one, I'll include it in my Championships wrap up next week. Thank you for what truly was a profound conversation on the top of Moesgaard Museum.

Jakob and Jonas came through! 
Many thanks for the photos.



  1. Thanks for the tour of the course. I can't wait to watch the races.

  2. My great pleasure, Dean! So pleased you enjoyed it and thanks for taking the time to let me know. Enjoy the races!

  3. Because I can't be there in person today...and I was having a hard time trying to imagine what I had heard about this revolutionary World Cross Country Championships Course, I appreciate your photographic preview/tour so very much. Thank you, Mark, for your contribution to help us fans (and former World X-C Competitors!). Enjoy the experience. I qualified for 10 US Teams for this event and it was very special for me. In some ways, better than the Olympic Games.

  4. Thank you so much for writing, Craig, and I am glad to know that this photo tour resonated with you and helped to make the Aarhus experience real from afar. The meet was terrific (I have a lot of writing still to do, so I hope you'll check back in a couple of days); the meet met or exceeded very high expectations. I remember meeting you again in Eugene during the last Olympic Trials - the first time since '76! I hope our paths will cross again in the future. With appreciation, Mark Cullen

  5. Very lucky to have travelled to this event and have my female athlete place in the top 50.

    1. Terrific and congratulations! Thanks for your reply.