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April 12, 2005
Contact: John Scarffe, KU Endowment Association, (785) 832-7336.

Timmons family gives KU renowned cross-country course, Rim Rock Farm


LAWRENCE -- University of Kansas and high school student-athletes of the future will always have a place to run amid the evergreens, ponds and covered bridges of Rim Rock Farm, thanks to a gift from famed KU coach Bob "Timmie" Timmons and his wife, Pat.

The Timmonses have given the land that is home to KU's cross-country course to the Kansas University Endowment Association, which will lease the land back to KU. Giving the Jefferson County property, valued at $500,000, will ensure that it has permanent caretakers.

" This is the most beautiful as well as the most challenging cross-country course in the country," said Tim Weaver, KU meet director for track and field and cross country. "Timmie and Pat's love of the land and of the sport are evident in every detail they've made 'just right' over the past 25 years. It's an outstanding gift not just for KU, but for the thousands of student-athletes who race at Rim Rock each year and their fans who flock here to cheer them on. The Timmonses' generosity has ensured that the sport of cross country will have a magnificent and permanent home at Rim Rock Farm for generations to come."

Bob Timmons, who earned a master's degree in education at KU in 1950, began coaching at KU in 1964 as an assistant coach under Bill Easton and was head track and field coach from 1965 to 1988. He said many courses were built en route to the creation of Rim Rock Farms, first beginning with a course on West Campus, then one at Lone Star Lake in Douglas County, followed by courses developed at the Lawrence and Alvamar country clubs. However, each course couldn't be dedicated solely to running.

In the early 1970s, he and Pat purchased the wooded property that would become Rim Rock Farm.

" It was overgrown and full of timber," he said. "There were no roads and only one pond."

Through the help of track team members with hand tools and a friend with a bulldozer, the course took shape. Over the years, the teams have benefited from the hard work, he said.

"We've trained kids to use different words," Bob Timmons said, noting that new track team members have continued to help maintain the farm. "We say, 'you get to work,' out here, not 'have to work.' In the end, they have a great feeling about the course."

Over time, six more ponds and two covered bridges have been added. Black-painted steel silhouettes of the great athletes of the Easton and Timmons eras, including Jim Ryun, Billy Mills, Johnny Lawson, Wes Santee, Herb Semper and Al Frame, decorate the courses. Runners pass redbud trees, evergreens and bluebird boxes as they climb steep hills and broad plateaus.

As KU's home course since 1974, Rim Rock Farm has hosted three Big Eight championships and the 1998 NCAA Division I & II championships. Dozens of area high schools from Kansas and surrounding states participate in meets at the farm, which can be configured into eight different courses.

" It's been great fun and it's never seemed like work," said Bob Timmons, who retired from coaching at KU in 1988. "It's been a labor of love. I look at this as a work in progress. It's my dream that someday the world cross-country championships could be held at this course."

KU Endowment is an independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fund-raising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university and one of the largest.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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