For close to 50 years, the Crystal Springs Course has been host to many of the top individuals and teams on the peninsula and the greater Bay Area. In fact, the course was host to the first Kinney (now Foot Locker) West Region race in 1979. The girls' course record time of 16:30.6 was recorded in that race by Bishop Kelly HS and future Stanford University runner, Ellen Lyons. If you were to list the iconic/historic courses in California and perhaps the entire United States, the Crystal Springs Course is definitely part of that conversation.
Former College of San Mateo coach Bob Rush (below courtesy of Hank Lawson's website www.lynbrooksports.com) along with Carlmont coach Loren Lansberry was responsible for the design and development of the course in the late 60s. Through the years, Rush continued to upgrade, schedule, and command the course for the benefit of many middle school, high school, college, and open athletes.
In the past two years, the course was under fire by a group that shared complaints regarding the traffic that race events attracted to the Belmont neighborhood. The San Mateo County College District was left with the decision on the future of the course.
After much deliberation that included mediation and a board meeting where neighbors, coaches, parents, and athletes spoke on behalf of the course, the SM County College District came to the following conclusion which can also be found in yesterday's San Mateo Daily Journal at this LINK.
"The cross country course, which sees wide use from middle school and high school programs on the Peninsula and beyond, has become an issue for some local homeowners who've raised concerns over parking and traffic.
In recognition of concerns, the number of yearly meets at the site will now be capped at 25, with only five meets annually allowed to exceed 1,000 participants and only five meets annually allowed to take place on Saturdays. Additionally, race organizers and the district will explore using alternative entrance points. According to Chancellor Michael Claire, the course usually hosts 30 to 35 meets annually.
"After a lot of consideration, and looking at the history of the course, we're trying to find that middle ground," Claire said, noting the abundance of public comment on the matter during the board's last meeting.
If you have never been to the course, do yourself a favor and attend either the Serra Invitational on October 2nd, the league finals that will take place at the beginning of November, or the Central Coast Section final on November 13th.
Albert Caruana is the coach at Crystal Springs Uplands and a regular contributor to MileSplitCA.