Men's Cross Country, Track & Field

Training Facilities


The Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium was originally built in 1987, and served as home solely to the men's and women's track and field programs for its first 11 years. In October of 1998, a $1.2 million renovation installed lighting for the entire stadium, built a separate throwing area for field events and adapted the grass field inside the track to facilitate soccer. Phase II (currently in planning) includes increasing seating to 8,000 seats split with 6,000 seats on the eastside and 2,000 seats on the westside, a permanent press box, locker rooms, rest rooms and a concession stand.

The stadium is located just steps away from the Bielfeldt Athletic Administration Building, where the track and soccer programs coaches offices are housed.



Competition during the indoor track and field season takes place at the Armory track, located in the heart of campus. The track surface provides the University of Illinois with one of the finest indoor facilities in the Midwest.

The facility was built in 1914 and designed by the William Carbys. Upon completion, the Armory was the largest free-span, no center support system, structure in the world. The "drill hall" now referred to as the main floor, measures 200 feet by 400 feet with a ceiling height of 98 feet.

Following the 2003 track and field season, a $1.2 million renovation project was undertaken to improve the infrastructure of the Armory track and floor. Completed in late 2003, the new surface is a 13mm thick, 200m Beynon Encapsulated Polyurethane track that features six lanes on the oval and eight lanes on the straight. In the field events, the long jump and triple jump have two jumping areas, which allow simultaneous running of men's and women's events, while the shot/weight area features a concrete circle recessed into the floor.



The University of Illinois Arboretum, also known as the "President's Lawn" and "Orchard Downs Park", serves as the home cross country course for the Fighting Illini. The course, which is maintained and marked throughout the year, provides the Illinois harriers an outstanding home venue. The competition course, which can be configured for distances ranging from 3,000-meters to 10,000 meters, consists almost entirely of grass footing with some undulating terrain and one large hill that is traversed twice on the 5000m and 6000m layouts and three-times on the 8000m configuration.

Besides the actual competition course, the "Arb" provides the Illinois distance runners and track teams a wide variety of soft surface training options. The wide variety of terrain allows the Illini to run loops that vary from flat to rolling to hilly. The dirt roads that run through the arboretum and the adjacent university research farms also provide a great setting for tempo runs.



The "South Farms" at the University of Illinois encompass over 1000 acres. This land is primarily used for research through the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES). The land includes the University of Illinois Dairy Farm Historic District. For Illinois' distance runners, "the Farms" provide miles of soft grass and forgiving dirt roads. Over the years the Illini have used the South Farms, which begin immediately South of campus across St. Mary's Road, for a variety of training ranging from easy distance runs to tempo runs to interval workouts.



Located about 15-minutes west of campus, the trails of Lake of the Woods County Park provide an outstanding training venue for the Illini distance runners. The park has played host to several collegiate and high school cross country meets, including the 1988 NCAA District Championships. The park also plays host to the annual 8k "Buffalo Run" and the world renowned "Riddle Run" ultramarathon.

The park provides great footing on wide grass trails cut through the prairie and the woods. The park's miles of trails include terrain that ranges from rolling to hilly. The Illini harriers utilize the park for several different types of workouts, including distance runs, tempo runs and interval work.



A favorite of Illinois harriers for weekend long runs, Kickapoo State Park features over 15 miles of well-maintained, challenging trails. Kickapoo's hilly terrain is a great asset for the Illini during the cross country season. The park also features a permanently marked high school cross country course and hosts two longstanding and well-known trail races --  The Wilderness Run 12k and the Siberian Express 12k.



Recently named as one of the "Seven Wonders of Illinois" and also placed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Allerton Park is a regular long run locale for the Illini. Located near Monticello, the 1500-acre woodland, garden, meadow, and prairie landscape that surrounds the Allerton Mansion was once the private estate of Robert Henry Allerton. The park is now owned by the University of Illinois and includes over 15 miles of trails and is surrounded by miles of rolling country roads.



Wildlife and natural beauty abound in the 800 acres at Homer Lake Forest Preserve near Homer. The undulating terrain of the soft surface trails provides another outstanding local venue for the Illini distance runners. The park provides trails adequate for distance runs, tempo runs and intervals.



A common easy run destination for Illinois distance runners, Crystal Lake Park, which includes Crystal Lake and Busey Woods, provides a wide variety of running options that vary from woodchip trails, dirt trails and its renowned boardwalk. The park covers just over 90 acres in Urbana and is owned and operated by the Urbana Park District.



Another Urbana Park District property, Meadowbrook Park provides training options both on paved trails and several shorter single-track trails. The Illinois cross country team primarily uses Meadowbrook for controlled tempo runs on the bike trails. This gives the team a chance to run on a smooth, consistent surface. The Illini utilize a 3 kilometer loop through the park.



Located West of Champaign near Farmer City, Clinton Lake includes over twenty miles of rolling single track trails that provide a challenging change of pace for long runs.



Located adjacent to Meadowbrook Park, "Secret Trails" is a short wooded loop on University of Illinois property. The Illinois cross country team often uses this trail as part of a warm-up or cool-down loop when training at the UI Arboretum.