The leaves are coming down in a steady stream, crunching beneath the feet of the fellow walkers and runners. Bikers are pedaling by, knowing for every downhill rush means a vigorous climb back.
Welcome to Mill Creek Park - the course for Sunday morning's Peace Race, which starts at Kirkmere Elementary School in Youngstown, heads through the scenic park and into downtown Youngstown to the final stretch on Federal Street.
But the park itself is well worth the run, or in my case, a good bike ride. I can't say I've personally run the 10K (6.2 miles) main event (starting at 11 a.m.), but I can say another sports writer completed the course in 2009 in 46 minutes, 22.0 seconds. However, a time less than 30 minutes will likely win this year's race.
World renowned masters runner John Campbell of New Zealand, Kenyan natives Boniface Biwott, Elijah, Julius Kiptoo and Emmanuel Bor, along with Jason Ordway, Jacob Krolick, James Zeuch, Andrew Carnes, Ryan Kienzie, Justin Dickman, Ceth Parker, Andy Morgan, Chris Horvat and Scott Mate are likely to compete for the overall title. Carnes won the Peace Race in 2010.
Rachel Dickman returns to see if she can repeat as the women's champion. Russian native Irina Alexandrova, Jessica Odorcic, Becki Spellman, Ro Morgan, Kelly Green and Jennie Kormanik will vie for this year's female title as well.
The Peace Race is more than the elite runners, it's a gathering of people from Youngstown - young and old - sharing a common goal.
The 2012 running was a banner year for the event, drawing a record 2,109 runners for the 10K and 2-mile races.
The 2-mile race starts at the downtown YMCA on Commerce Street at 9:30 a.m., turns left on to Belmont, then it merges on to W. Front Street, turns left on Champion Street, left on Commerce, left on N. Chestnut and another left to Federal Street, where you'll see the finish line in sight.
The 10K race, after the start at Kirkmere, heads through the park to Lanterman's Mill - one of the best sights in the park. And, if you're going for a bike ride or a run, it's a good place to find a water fountain.
But Sunday's gaggle of runners won't be stopping there. There will be plenty of water along the route for runners to grab and go.
The race then flows past Lake Cohasset, by Lake Glacier, around Fellows Riverside Gardens and into the downtown area - heading for the finish at Federal Street. The final stretch is where the 10K group goes over the Mr. Peanut Bridge, a bridge that connects travelers from the south side to the downtown area.
Don't consider yourself nuts if you want to run on Sunday morning. It's not too late. You can sign up today (4 to 8 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) at Second Sole in Boardman or 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Sunday at the YMCA.
I'm sure there will be more than 2,000 of your neighbors right alongside you running either the 2-mile or the 10K races.