Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. Sometimes the runners are referred to as harriers. The course, typically 4–12 kilometres (2.5–7.5 mi) long, may include surfaces of grass, and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road. It is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged on individual times and teams by a points-scoring method.
Both men and women of all ages compete in cross country, which usually takes place during autumn and winter, and can include weather conditions of rain, sleet, snow or hail, and a wide range of temperatures.
Cross country has boys compete against boys and girls compete against girls in their appropriate age group. All race heats are seeded according to ability. Each and every athlete has the opportunity for a well-balanced competitive experience. Training and racing flats are recommended for athletes, and are not part of the registration.