Sunday's race will be at Hemlock Park in southern Fairfax County. It is a really nice park situated on an old farmstead. The terrain varies greatly - steep short hills, scrub oak forest, and open fields. The southern edge of the park is bounded by the infamous Bull Run Creek; farther upriver is where the famous Civil War battles were fought.
The race starts with a very fast slightly downhill prologue that follows a dirt road before winding between some old farm buildings. The course crosses a small field and then runs along the sides of a farm pond before hitting the first short hill. This portion of the race was very fast last year!
After crossing the same road the race started down the course goes into the trees on some relatively tight singletrack as the course winds down towards the Bull Run. Once along the creek the route becomes very "technical," literally running riverside over a very narrow rocky path.
This portion of the course ends with the longest climb of the day - a series of two steep climbs that bring the runners back level with the farm. Into the singletrack around a series of fields the course picks up speed as you cross several open areas and then race around the farm pond againt to the finish.
Last year I finished 7th at this course with a time of 40:48 for 5.8 miles. I am hoping to place better - into the top five again. If i can secure two top five finishes during the series my chances of a top five place overall will be very strong.