Rural Runs

Cross Country Rural Runs
Members of the women’s KU cross country team ran down a hill along the Pleasant Grove route the team used for training on Thursday, October 20.

The belief that Kansas is a pancake flat state is proven false by KU cross country runners nearly every day. The Jayhawk runners take to the rolling hills outside of Lawrence for their training runs. With 20 routes to choose from, assistant distance coach Michael Whittlesey can challenge runners with hills that test the VO2 Max of the best runners. 

The courses all bear names like Camelback, Turkey Trot, Buck Creek or Pleasant Grove. Fitness develops on scenic routes far from dangerous traffic in town. Softer dirt or gravel surfaces save their legs from pounding on concrete pavement.  

These photographs were taken in October 2016. KU was training for that month’s Big 12 Cross Country Championship at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.


Jeff Jacobsen has photographed practically every big event the sports world has to offer during a professional career that spans over 53 years. Jacobsen has seen things up close that only a diehard sports fan could in their dreams. His work for the Topeka Capital-Journal, Arizona Republic, Kansas Athletics, Inc., many national publications and now Action Images Photography, Inc., cemented his reputation as one of the nation’s finest sports photographers.

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