Top 5...Hardest Hills in Charlottesville
by Coach Resnick

Map of O-Hill with elevation change and grade

I am entering my second week of the PFP Summer 2020 King of the Mountain Competition and boy are my legs feeling tired. Having lived in Charlottesville since 2005, I’ve spent many a run trying to find a route with the least amount of hills. But right now, I don’t know about you but I am seeking out the biggest baddest hills to try and take Sam and Daniel down (while dueling it out with Austin seemingly every other day). So, here is my list of the top 5 hills in Charlottesville. Come run them and you might just see me!


  1. O-Hill (from Alderman Rd to the top!) - This is an OG C’ville hill for me as I lived at the base of Observatory Hill as a first year at UVA, back in 2005. There are so many fun trails and ways to gain elevation on this space. My favorite is heading directly from the O-Hill dining hall and running on McCormick Road all the way up to the Observatory. The views of town and the lights of Scott Stadium on the way back down always brings a smile to my face, mainly because I know I just put in work!

  2. Lexington Avenue (from about Lyons Ct Ln to Maple St) - If you or your parents have ever run the 10-miler, they’ll have this hill stamped into the back of their brains! Sometimes called cemetery hill because one way or another that’s where you’ll end up, this climb comes just after halfway on the Charlottesville 10-Miler course. I tell you what, this hill can make or break your race, and like all these hills its way better at the end then at the start. One time I got to run this hill with former Albemarle Patriot All-Star Rachel Ward and I quickly realized why only one of us had 10-miler before.

  3. Barracks Road (from Emmet St to Rugby Rd)  -  When I first started helping Adrian back at AHS, I lived in a house right on the crest of Barracks Road, right in between Hilltop and Rugby. Now it’s going to be hard for many of you to imagine this, but I was once a much better runner than I am today. Part of the reason I was so much better back in 2015 was this hill! To put in context how steep it is, there is some slight truth to the story that in less than a quarter mile while driving down this hill to school one morning, I may have received a speeding ticket even though I never even pressed my foot on the gas. (Although, I should have pressed the break!)

  4. East Jefferson Street (from Meade Ave to 10th St NE) - Back when I was in good shape, Adrian’s older brother Alec used to convince me to wake up at 4:45 a few mornings a week and go for a run with his crew. One day, I think it was my last, I realized how crazy these guys were. We were doing a tempo run with some hills at the end and they introduced me to this monster, located downtown right across the street from the Meade Park Pool. But the repeats we did weren’t the 8 seconds or 15 seconds I do now. No, these bad boys were either 1 or 2 full minutes. They hurt so bad and it didn’t help that this hill never really did end!

  5. River Road (from Belleview Ave to Locust Ave) - This hill sucks because it’s never at the beginning and it's never at the end of a run, so it is always hard work. If you push too hard on what is supposed to be an easy run, you are stuck! For a while, part of this hill bridged a gap on the Rivanna Trail so if you were going for a long trail run, you had to hit the street and lift them legs up high to get to the top and keep going. One great reason to get to the top of the hill is if you turn around and go back down you have an awesome view of Pantops!


Honorable Mention - Lambeth Hill (from the Emmet St overpass to Rugby Rd), Huntley Ave (from Sunset Rd to Stribling Ave), Grady Avenue (from 10th St NW to Rugby Rd), and I’m sure a ton others. 


Do you have a list of favorite hills in your neighborhood? Or maybe around Albemarle High School? Have you ever driven out to somewhere in the county to run its hills? If you want, share that list as your Top 5 Hardest Hills in Albemarle for next week’s post!


Top 5...Albemarle XC Workouts

Stephen Smith and Joe Yung sit down with Coach Lorenzoni and Coach Resnick to discuss their top 5 workouts.  This was so much fun to do and we loved hearing how Stephen and Joe ranked them.  Listen to the podcast below to hear their top 5!  Video footage of top 2 also included!

Also, sorry for the very long Led Zeppelin intro song.  I'm going through a big Led Zeppelin phase and Ramble On is my favorite song right now...

by Stephen Smith and Joe Yung
Top 5...WorkoutsArtist Name
00:00 / 29:51

Threw together some old footage I had of our last Rev this past fall and of course added some Led Zeppelin.  

Here's a video of one of the boys running The Patriot last fall.  Sorry for the length.  I edited this one...



Top 5...Running Documentaries

I love documentaries!  As a teacher and coach, I try to come up with any excuse to show any type of documentary to my student and athletes.  Specifically, I love being able to get an inside look at people who have reached the top of their respective fields.  I find it so interesting and inspiring!  There are countless running documentaries that have been made over the years, and in my opinion, any running documentary is worth a watch.  The list below are five that I really enjoy and I find all of them very inspirational.  

Hope you find some time to watch these and many more.  I would love to hear your top 5 list as I bet each of ours are different!

by Coach Lorenzoni

Transcend (2014)

This is one of my favorite all time documentaries and definitely my most watched.  I think I've shown it to everyone of my classes plus the team a few times.  It's the story of Wesley Korir, the 2012 Boston Marathon Champion.  It ends up being about much more than running.  You are able to see how Wesley takes the lessons he's learned from running and apply them to the rest of his life.

The documentary also gives an inside look to Kenyan running culture and why so many Kenyan runners have been able to reach world class level.  For me, this might be the most interesting part of the documentary.

Link to film: https://www.thefilmtranscend.com/

Link to trailer: https://youtu.be/v3JiU5I9ySY

Cost: $12.99 to buy on website

Fire On The Track (1995)

This Nike funded documentary gives an inside look into the life of Steve Prefontaine, American's most popular distance runner of all time.  Prefontaine, or Pre as he is known, died in a car accident before he was able to reach the peak of his career.  At the time of his death, Pre held every American from 2,000 meter to 10,000 meter.  His 4th place finish in the 5,000m at the 1972 Olympics is my favorite race of all time.  

Pre's popularity was driven by his charisma, confidence, and racing style.  He only raced one way, from the front.  

He's so popular that there are two motion pictures, Without Limits and Prefontaine, made about his life.  For me personally, he was my biggest sport hero from a very young age.  I remember doing my english project on him in 7th grade.  

Link to film: https://youtu.be/YXF0MxTwNys

Cost: Free on Youtube!

The Long Green Line (2007)

This documentary is unique in that it follows a high school cross country team's entire season.  The film documents the 2005 York High School cross country season.  The Illinois school is coached by the famous Joe Newton, who is considered the best high school cross country coach of all time.  In his 56 year career at York, the boys won 28 state titles!  He was even an assistant coach for the 1988 US Olympic Team

The depth of this program was always known to be unmatched by any team in the country, hence the name, and this 2005 season shows that depth in it's best form.

Link to Film

Link to Trailer

Cost: Free for Amazon Prime Users

City Slickers Can't Stay With Me: The Bob Larsen Story (2015)

This documentary is probably the least well known of all the documentaries listed.  Bob Larsen is the running coach I look up to the most.  He has reached the peak of coaching at every level, high school, community college, college, and professional.  He has built his training around the idea of threshold training.  He talks about finding that line between exhaustion and being able to continue, and then riding that line for as long as possible.  As you watch this documentary, you can probably see how he has had a lot of influence on our program.

It's the longest documentary on the list but I think it's because it has to show his unheralded success at all levels.  The last third delves into his relationship with athlete Meb Keflezighi, and that segment is worth the watch in itself.  


His biography, Running to the Edge, is one of my favorite running books.  

Link to Film

Cost: Free for Amazon Prime Users

Breaking2 (2017)

This documentary is probably the most well known documentary on the list.  The focus of the documentary is Nike's Breaking2 Project, which takes three athletes, Lelisa Desisa, Eliud Kipchoge, and Zersenay Tadese, and sees if they can give them all these extra benefits in hopes that they break 2 hours in the marathon.  

These benefits include pacers the entire race, a course with the perfect elevation change, all the scientific testing, no limits on fluids they can take in during the race, and shoes.  This whole project has become more controversial with the development of the Nike shoes as they have been proven to give a sizable benefit.

Either way, it is a fascinating documentary that has an inside look at probably the greatest distance runner of all time, Eliud Kipchoge.  

It also has been the most culturally relevant story for distance running since Roger Bannister was the first person to break the 4 minute mile in 1954.

Link to Film

Cost: $2.99 on Amazon

Honorable Mentions...

  • Dedicated: Albemarle Cross Country

    • An amaizng documentary made by Albe​marle athletes, Harris Naseh, JD MacKnight,John McDaniel, and Josh Fard, that documents the boys 2017 season.  This is actually probably #1 on my list!!  Link

  • Many Flotrack Documentaries.  These are amazing but reqire a subscription to Flotrack which is pricey.  I've listed some of my favorites below.

    • NAU: Running With The Boys.  Follows the 2019 Northern Arizona team as they try to win their fourth straight NCAA title. ​ Link to Episode 1  Trailer

    • The Program: Colorado.  Made in 2014 as Colorado was in the middle of winning 2 straight NCAA Titles.  Link to Episode 1 Trailer

    • Justyn Knight & The Orange: Taking Care Of Business.  A look at the 2017 Syracuse team.  Since then, Justyn Knight and Coach Fox have moved down to Charlottesville and started the Reebok Boston Track Club, which is based here in town.  You have probably seen Justyn running down Hydraulic Road without realizing he was a 13:09 5k runner and one of the best in the world! Here's a link to the RBTC instagram.  Check out this commercial.  Recognize where it is filmed?  Link to Syracuse Episode   Trailer



Top 5...Reasons to Crush Some Summer Training

Summer running is GLORIOUS. When temperature AND humidity start to creep into the 80s and 90s, you know you’re there. When you completely drench your shirt in sweat and you’re barely out the door, you know you’re there. When you finish your long run at 7 AM and laze around the house for the rest of the day, you know you’re there.


Summer training has always been my favorite part of the cross country season (other than competing for ‘ships, of course). While our summer training is completely optional, it’s a great opportunity to go back to the basics if you’re a returning runner, or to get ready for your first fall with the Patriots XC team if you’re a newbie. Building a strong base for the fall season is also super important when it comes to progressing as an athlete; EVERY successful runner will attest to this. These are my Top 5 favorite parts of summer running. Let us know if you have anything else to add to this list!

by Coach Alba-Cantone

I mean, how can you now be stressed on a morning like this?!

1. Stress-Free Running - The summer, relatively speaking, is a relaxing time for everyone. Your run, instead of being after a long day of classes, can be early in the morning before work, or maybe in the evening as a way to unwind. You have all day to plan around your run, and you have a LOT more time to either warm up or cool down. It can also give your day a good structure, if that’s what you need. I know that, by getting my run in first thing in the morning, I’ll be more likely to be productive throughout my day. BUT, if I sleep in and run in the evening, who cares?! 


2. Summer Weather is The Best - I mean, need I say more?!!? If you don’t believe me, then you clearly haven’t been running. 


3. Rehydration Station - If you get out a little too late for your long run in the summer, odds are you’ll finish up 5 pounds lighter and feel like a human raisin. You lie on the floor, chugging water, Gatorade, chocolate milk, chunky pasta sauce, WHATEVER to refuel and replenish your fluids. Then, you repeat the whole process the next day. 


4. New Places - While Panorama Farms is truly one of the most impressive training facilities in the country, I love finding new places to run. Whether it’s driving out to Louisa County or into Crozet to find some dirt roads, or jogging around the beach town where your family vacations every year, the summer gives you a great opportunity to use running as a way to explore.


5. The Anticipation of the Season - Big running dreams are born in the summer:

“I can’t wait to be all-state, man!”

“I’m going sub-20 this year!”

“You know what? I’m going to finish my first 5k!”

“We’re winning Regionals AND States! AND we’re going to Natties!”

As the sun slowly rises on yet another hot, summer day, you get to begin to forge your identity as a runner, but more importantly, as a valued member of our team. It’s humid days like today that prepare you to get AFTER it in the fall. Because, while you’re getting yet another distance run in, the seed gets planted: what will it look like to achieve greatness? What will it sound like when you stand up on that podium? What will it feel like after you gave everything you could for your team? 


Who knows? We’ll find out in November. But for now, keep plugging away. And drinking that Ragu.


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