Guidelines for Creating New Courses
Prepared by the Reston Runners Courses Committee
The Course Committee welcomes proposed new courses to add to our schedule. In mapping out a new course, it is important to keep several things in mind.
- Our runners and walkers live over a wide swath of Northern Virginia, but Reston is the geographic center of our membership at large. As befits an organization known as the "Reston Runners", with very few exceptions our runs start and finish within the generally accepted boundaries of Reston.
- Start points should have ample free parking and be anchored in a well defined, spacious lot. Plan for a minimum of fifty cars on an average Saturday. Sunday runs, particularly on a nice day in the summer, can attract well over a hundred runners and close to that number of cars (carpooling is not something runners are known for). Please remember that some parking lots are also used by others. For instance, a Church may have a service on a weekend morning. As good neighbors, we want to avoid conflicting with other activities.
- In designing a course, avoid at-grade crossings of major highways. In particular, the Fairfax County Parkway, Reston Parkway, and Baron Cameron Avenue should not be crossed at street level. While some of our existing courses cross these roads, those courses were designed in less busy times and efforts are being made to reroute them to safer alternatives. If necessary to cross other four lane roads (Glade, Wiehle, South Lakes, etc.) do so at traffic lights or four way stops. Be aware of (and avoid) blind entrances and blind curves in the road. To the maximum extent possible, use authorized Reston pathways.
- Avoid industrial, commercial back alley, and run down areas. Safety is always the key consideration. Individuals often run our courses on their own. You should have no qualms about your grandmother running your course by herself.
- New courses should be run over pathways and streets that are not used on other courses of the same distance. As a rule, at least 50% of a new run should be over new terrain. Running in the reverse direction from another run is worth half credit. Likewise, don't "step" on existing start points for a run of the same distance.
- Factor in weather extremes. Neither steep downhills that ice up in the winter nor long treeless stretches under a broiling sun in the summer are appealing.
- Both our runs and our walks start from the same locations. In designing one, remember that someone will have to design the other.
- Yes, aesthetics count.
- Be prepared to mark the course at least three times before turning it over to the marking committee!