As the days get shorter and colder it means one thing: cross country season.
We look back at some of our collection of photos from the past decade to highlight what makes this athletic discipline so special.
There's nothing like a hill to really test a distance runner.
In this photo from the 2009 Australian Cross Country Championships on the challenging Willandra course near Nowra, NSW, Courtney Carter from Western Australia stops, exhausted, at the top of the venue's infamous hill.
Fast forward two years and Carter, having relocated to NSW, leads the field in state championship over the same course. His eventual winning time of 38 minutes, 26 seconds over the hilly 12km course was amongst the fastest recorded at the venue, and was more than 45 seconds faster than winning time at the nationals two years earlier.
A barefoot Harry Summers scales the mountainous hill at Brimbank Park on his way to victory at the 2012 Victorian 16km Cross Country Championships.
With a front running effort Summers took out the Australian junior title at Willandra in 2009.
TWISTS AND TURNS
Whether they are sweeping or tight, the twists and turns of a cross country course can break up a runner's rhythm. Here the field runs in single file at the Australian selection trial held in Canberra for the 2011 World Cross Country Championships.
Jeff Hunt rounds a turn at Miranda Park in Sydney's south, the traditional venue for the NSW Cross Country Relays.
Lisa Weightman in action at the 2008 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships.
The field in the 2010 NSW Cross Country Championships at Willandra stride downhill on the chicane from the course's highest point. Courtney Carter leads the field from the eventual podium finishers: Russell Dessaix-Chin (silver), Ryan Gregson (gold) and James Nipperess (bronze).
Michael Shelley leads Collis Birmingham in the lead pack of the 2011 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships.
National 10,000m record holder, Ben St Lawrence, in action on the technical Miranda Park course during the 2013 edition of the NSW Cross Country Relays. Photo: Chris Lew.
RAIN, HAIL OR SHINE
A saturated Australian marathon representative Milly Clark in action at the NSW Cross Country Relays. Photo: Chris Lew.
A clear winter's day at the Heritage Round of Victoria's XCR series at Cruden Farm in 2016.
The field in the women's 8km on a sunny autumn day at Lardner Park during the 2009 Athletics Victoria XCR series.
Although not prone to quagmire conditions of the northern hemisphere, low lying areas of Australian courses can add a wet and muddy dimension.
Paralympian Jaryd Clifford, running with the aid of a guide runner, clears a muddy ditch during the opening round of the Victorian XCR'19 series at Jells Park.
CROSS COUNTRY OR CROSS CITY
Alexandra Patterson in action at the 2015 Australian Cross Country Championships held at Moonee Valley Racecourse, with the Melbourne CBD in the background.
The women's field descends into long grassland at the 2008 NSW Short Course Cross Country Championships at Abbotsbury.
Kaila McKnight leads the women's 8km race at Lardner Park, Warragul in regional Victoria.
The hustle and bustle of a pack of cross country runners is a very different dynamic to a track race. Here Collis Birmingham and Martin Dent lead the field in Canberra at the 2008 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships.
The lead pack in the women's 8km race the 2010 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships, held at Brimbank Park in Melbourne. The field featured Tamara Carvolth, Nikki Chapple, Benita Willis and Eloise Wellings.
A BREEDING GROUND AND A STAPLE
There's no better terrain for the training of young middle distance and distance runners than cross country. Here a young Jessica Hull, now the NCAA 1500m champion, is in action at the 2011 NSW Cross Country Relays.
Current Australian 5000m champion Melissa Duncan, in action at the 2013 Victorian Cross Country Championships at Bundoora.
One of Australia's greatest ever distance runners, Craig Mottram, in action at the 2013 Victorian Cross Country Championships at Bundoora, where he finished third.
Marathoner Lee Troop in action at the 2013 Victorian Cross Country Championships at Bundoora.
THE LONELINESS OF A DISTANCE RUNNER
As packs spread out over the course of a race athletes can find themselves isolated
'Mona' - Steve Moneghetti - at the 2013 Victorian Cross Country Championships at Bundoora.
Ryan Gregson on his way to a commanding win in the junior race at the 2008 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships.
Four-time national 800m champion Nick Bromley in action at the NSW Cross Country Relays.
Collis Birmingham on his way to winning the 2013 Australian trial for the World Cross Country Championships. Photo: Nicholas Brown.
A SPORT FOR ALL
Runners in action at the Victorian Cross Country Relays held at Jells Park in 2019.