Ocean County Park, Lakewood
Ocean County Park (formerly the estate of John D. Rockefeller) has been hosting cross country races since the 1950's. Many high schools used OCP for their home XC course for years including Lakewood and Brick Township High Schools. The current cross country course was developed in 1988 for the Ocean County XC Championships after the course at Ocean County College was disrupted by construction on the campus. Flat and fast, OCP race times are usually some of the fastest in the entire country! The current record for the 5K course is well below 15 minutes. The course is a great spectator course as it mostly follows a wood line around a large field and the runners can be watched for large portions of the race. Better hope you still have some outdoor track speed left for this place!!
Thompson Park, Jamesburg
Thompson Park in Jamesburg (NOT the one in Lincroft) is a Middlesex County Park. It is the location of several XC meets including the Central Jersey State Sectional Championships and has hosted the Middlesex County XC Championships since 1981. Although the course was changed in 2007, when the new Monroe HS was built on the south part of the large field, the course retains much of the same sections of the original course. The course is challenging and features a fast opening mile with a fast downhill at mile 2, then a tough uphill at 2.5 mile mark.
Holmdel Park, Holmdel
Holmdel Park, in Holmdel, is a Monmouth County Park featuring one of the most famous and challenging XC courses in the nation. It is the location of the NJ State Group Championships and the NJ Meet of Champions since the early 1980s. The course is challenging and features a tough uphill opening 1/4 mile with a fast downhill finish. The Bowl is the signature feature of the course, beginning at 1.25 miles runners decend into the bowl (an open field that slopes downhill) and then acend a steep 250m incline to get out of the Bowl. Featuring the best parts of XC courses, Holmdel is often a course that runners "love to hate" due to its challenging hills and terrain.
Jackson Liberty HS Home XC Course
Jackson Liberty High School opened it's doors in 2006 and with that, a new XC course was born. Using existing trails left from the property's days as a gravel and sand pit, the coaches and members of the inaugural XC team mapped out a diverse course that features a wide start, open field running, wooded trails, hills and some dirt roads. The course passes the starting area several times and allows spectators a great vantage point, but still has a great appeal to runners with the varied terrain. The course runs slow as the numerous turns make for a course that runs like OC Park but feels like Thompson Park.
Cherokee Challenge Course, Marlton NJ