Georgia runner and redshirt freshman Nicholas Yanek (110) pulls forward at the 4k mark of the race. UGA hosted Kennesaw State and Georgia Tech in its first and only home meet of the season, the Bulldog Invitational, in Athens, Georgia on Aug 31, 2019. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean)

With the Georgia cross country squad preparing for its first meet in Tallahassee, Florida, on Oct. 2, runners of the team and coaches highlight the pros and cons of running in different weather conditions throughout the country. They gave detailed insight into their experiences running in different conditions and how that has prepared them for Florida’s hot climate.

Jayda Woods, a redshirt sophomore from Cold Spring, Minnesota, described her running and training experience in cold conditions and how she’s benefited from it.

“Being in the cold just makes it a little extra more miserable,” Woods said. “Having trained in the cold for so long has definitely made me more appreciative, of course, for warm weather.”

A redshirt sophomore from Bettendorf, Iowa, Nicholas Yanek also explained how he has trained in varying extreme conditions.

“In the winters it gets considerably cold and the summers are so excessively hot and super humid,” Yanek said, referencing his experiences training in Iowa.

Yanek believes this, along with the fact that he ran regionals in Tallahassee last year, has prepared him well for this upcoming meet.

Distance coach Patrick Cunniff, a veteran runner who has run races throughout the country, also sees differing running challenges throughout areas of the United States.

“When you're in the north, the challenge can be first of all mental. … It's hard to get out the door or out of bed when it's 10 degrees,” Cunniff said.

In contrast, Cunniff thinks the running in the south is way more of a physical challenge. He described the intense conditions in the context of this upcoming course, citing thick humidity and high temperatures while also having to deal with major hills.

“It’s truly a championship level course,” Cunniff said. “It can get painful.”

Like Woods and Yanek, Cunniff believes the team’s running experiences in different conditions have prepared them well.  

“We’re in a great kind of middle ground here in Athens” Cunniff said, talking about the training conditions and weather as opposed to other parts of the country.  “We have a great potential to come together as a team in time for the SEC championship.” 

Despite the numerous challenges the state of Florida and this course can bring, the team is confident in their abilities to come out on top in this upcoming meet due to their individual experiences with training in all types of weather conditions.

“That’s both the beauty and the challenge of cross country running” Cunniff said.  “You have to be ready for everything.”