Pulling into Hedges-Boyer Park in the early morning hours Saturday morning for the Tiffin Cross Country Carnival, it was unclear what to expect.
The storms that hit northwest Ohio late Friday night finally stopped roughly 30 minutes before the start of the first race. It was nearly 10 solid hours of rain pounding down on the course.
Early on, it was showing the effects.
"Muddy," was how Columbian's Abrie Smith, who ran in the day's second race, described the course. "It was a really, really muddy course. Down there on the second mile, we call it Death Valley, it was just a mud puddle."
Some of the runners, such Mohawk's Julia Daniel, welcomed the weather.
"I personally really enjoy running in the mud," she said. "I like the challenge and I like that it's a little different. Honestly it got me a little more pumped up for the race just cause you kind of hope it affects everyone else but not you so you can do well."
Others were hoping it would get worse.
"I was kind of excited because I thought it was going to be raining in our race and I really like when it's raining," Lakota's Cariss Reese said. "So I was excited for that and hoping it was."
Columbian girls coach Nikki Hintze was well aware of the potential for wet conditions, which is why she picked the early races for her teams to run in.
"The course is already torn up, unfortunately," she said after her top team competed in the day's second race. "That's typically why we pick this race. You never know if its going to rain. It's better to run early when the course is like we remember it in practice."
As the day went on though, the Carnival staff maintained the course, preventing it from getting torn up despite hundreds of feet racing on it at a time throughout the day.
The worst area of the course was the portion winding through the woods and coming up to the final hill.
"The course is pretty decent. But after going down that first hill in that little woods area, that turns into pure mud. So you kind of slide around a bit, but other than that it was pretty decent," Carey's Ben Kromer said.
Several times though, staff members were seen pouring mulch on the puddles that were prevalent in the early races.
As a result, the course held firm throughout the day, give or take a rough patch here or there.
"It's pretty much staying the same," Old Fort coach Tony Miller said. "I went over and looked at the hill while guys were running it. They were getting good footing. There's no real sloppy places. Well, the trails are a little slippery. But besides that, it's pretty decent, pretty solid."
Calvert coach Stewart Behm said all the running actually made the course faster as the day went on.
"I think the course is going to get faster. The rain we had made it a little sloshy for the first couple races, but I think all that mud has been packed down, now, the last couple races I've seen have been really fast," he said.