The worst of the slop occurs just before the whoop-de-dos. Photo by Alan Versaw.
It's in the same place, but this isn't your 2008 or 2009 NXN course.
Although the cold, wet weather has relented with the arrival of the 44 teams and 90 individuals for Nike Cross Nationals, parts of the course remain a quagmire. Nothing on the course is completely dry, but several sections of the course threaten to become serious mud holes before the championship races even begin--and certainly by the time they end tomorrow.
Many portions of the course, such as the section show above look superficially green and passably dry now, but the mere act of walking on the grass squeezes water to the surface of the course. A few hundred spikes hitting this section of course will almost immediately transform it from green to brown, making spikes a necessity to maintain traction.
What does this mean for the Colorado teams? On balance it's probably a positive, but not one without its hazards. Running in mud requires extra energy and simulates some of the same fatigue conditions produced by running at altitude. To this extent, altitude-trained runners are at an advantage under these conditions. To what extent the unfamiliarity of running with spikes in conditions such as these cancels out the training advantage remains to be seen.
Overall, course conditions means that we should expect slower times than this course would normally yield.