Cross Country, it's 3.1 miles (5K) around grassy terrain. Depending on the weather, it might be slick around turns - causing runners to seem as if they're attempting to ice skate for the first time.
However, they're are other days like this past weekend's Billy Goat Challenge in McDonald - a sunny day and a perfectly manicured course winding around Woodland Park.
No matter the weather, area runners find a way to finish the course - some faster than others.
This season, the McDonald boys will be leading the way with runners like seniors Jerry Dugan, Nick Rees, Jeff Kunkel, junior Kyle Joynes and sophomore Patrick Kunkel. That top five will be trying to pace the Blue Devils to a higher placement than last year's fifth-place finish at the Division III state meet.
Considering Saturday's strong second-place finish at the Billy Goat to Woodridge - arguably the most successful cross country boys program in the state - McDonald seems well on its way to being one of the favorites in Division III this year.
But, that's not the only strong team in the area.
Look north to Mecca and you'll find the Maplewood girls team with senior Krystal Williams, sophomores Alanna Shamrock and Erin Pavick and junior Haley Gatrell. This small, but mighty team, finished fourth at last year's Division III girls state meet.
The Suburban League schedule kicks off Tuesday, but Maplewood will make its official debut at Thursday's Maplewood Invitational. Look for the Rockets, who have depth from this year's freshmen class, to dominate the girls' scene once again.
However, Maplewood isn't the only girls teams looking to improve this season.
The McDonald girls are back this year with sophomore Sarah Jones pacing the Blue Devils. Sophomore Kenzie Srock and senior Jamie Stellmar, along with a host of other good runners, give McDonald the firepower it needs to compete with Maplewood. Incidentally, the Blue Devils took 13th at last year's Division III state meet.
As for the other area girls teams, look at Howland. The Tigers, which took fifth at Saturday's Salem Early Bird, will be paced by senior Hayley Buzulencia and freshman Haley Dieter. Both finished in the top 10 Saturday.
As for the Niles girls, the Red Dragons are hoping some new talented runners pace them to some successful finishes. Freshman Taylor Stewart paces Niles.
Individually, Badger junior Sarah Bonar, last year's Northeastern Athletic Conference champion, and Brookfield senior Angie Kirila, last year's Suburban League champion, will be two of the runners to watch this season.
Back to the boys side. Lakeview should remain strong with senior Nick Tripi and sophomore Eric Harris pacing the Bulldogs. It might be a thin year for Lakeview, but I feel they have enough tradition to get them in the conversation with some of the area's best teams.
Keeping on that topic, Maplewood's boys were decimated by graduation - losing a strong senior class of Eric Rupe, Tom Bottorff, A.J. Grayson and Aaron Harrison - that paced Maplewood to a fourth-place finish at last year's Division III boys state meet.
However, the Rockets return two strong runners in sophomore Wyatt Hartman and junior Dallas Bright. If Maplewood has some talented freshmen emerge, the Rockets may be one of those teams to watch at the end of the season.
Maplewood has advanced to 20 straight state meets, which is best in the state, but I don't think the Rockets or coach Ted Rupe is even registering that in their thought process at this time.
As for boys individual runners, look for Girard's Ryan DelBene and Lordstown's Johnny Tarchick to be among some of the area's best.
Also, there might be some surprises along the way.
As one coach told me during the offseason, "The nice thing is you never know who worked their butt off to shock everyone."