Cross country runners from St. Charles East High School know what "reality check" means.
This year, other runners will have a chance to experience it, when the 34th annual Saints Cross Country Challenge 5K returns to LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve on Saturday, Nov. 10.
If you goWhat: 34th annual Saints Cross Country Challenge 5K, a fundraiser for running programs at St. Charles East High School
When: Two races -- 9 a.m. women, 9:30 men -- on Saturday, Nov. 10
Where: LeRoy Oakes Forest Preserve, 37W370 Dean St., St. Charles
Registration: $35 before Nov. 5; $40 after Nov. 5 through race day
"'Reality check' refers to the last hill before the finish (on the LeRoy Oakes cross country course)," said race organizer Bruce Westerhoff of St. Charles. "There's three major hills on the course. If you put too much effort into the first two, you'll struggle on the third."
In recent years, the race has been held on the St. Charles East campus and through a neighboring subdivision. This year, organizers decided to move it back to LeRoy Oakes.
"It's probably been about 10 years since we've had it there," said Westerhoff, the parent of one St. Charles East graduate, two current students and one future student.
This year is also the last opportunity to race the high school cross country course at LeRoy Oakes, as the course will be changed next year.
"The forest preserve district acquired land west of LeRoy Oakes and is expanding the property, which will change the course," Westerhoff said.
The race, which is open to the public, benefits running programs at St. Charles East High School. Preregistration is $35 through Monday, Nov. 5 and includes a T-shirt and goody bag; registrations after Nov. 5 through race day are $40 and do not include any swag.
Registration is limited to 250 men and 250 women; registrants are divided into age categories and can win awards, including $100 cash prizes for the top male and female finishers.
Westerhoff, who has served as president of the boosters club and was race director for five years, wants runners to know this is not a "flat fast course," but 99 percent trail, and "the best cross country course in Illinois, period."
"It's a great course for cross country," Westerhoff said. "It will be a fun day."
For details or to register, visit runningsaints.org.