From the outside world, cross country can seem like a useless and unenjoyable sport. Most people get no joy out of running, so they feel they would get no joy out of cross country, just like Caroline Comeskey, a senior at Leesville, did before she joined the team. “My sister practically forced me to come on the first day,” said Comeskey over text, however, soon she started to really enjoy the sport and has continued to participate since.
Cross country is an athletic competition where athletes race different distance events against each other as fast as they can. It is difficult to do, and athletes have to push themselves to their limits every single race and even just in practice. A lot of people find runners to be crazy for enjoying cross country, and a lot of the time it can be hard to stay motivated. However, the athletes always seem to find a way to enjoy the grueling sport and continue competing.
Some athletes find that the best part of cross country is the races. Races are either 3 kilometers or 5 kilometers in distance and push athletes to their absolute limits. Bo Groff, a sophomore at Leesville, loves seeing his times drop. Being able to see improvements in his times after putting in loads of effort is very satisfying to Groff and motivates him to continue training.
Kevin Bolin, a junior at Leesville, also loves the races. Bolin has been running since the 6th grade and his favorite race was the regional competition his junior year. “my teammate Gabe Mann and I were able to out kick six runners in the last 400m which helped us secure a third place finish at the meet,” said Bolin over text. Bolin loves competing with his teammates and helping the team succeed.
For a lot of runners, running is a great exercise to relieve the many stresses of their lives. Being a student-athlete can be very hard. Practices take out 2 hours of their day, which means that student-athletes often find themselves sleep deprived because there is not enough time to do everything they need to do. It is also harder to be productive because, after practices, athletes are usually exhausted. This on top of other responsibilities in student-athletes lives builds up a lot of stress. So, a lot of runners use their easy runs during practice as stress relievers.
Helena Bunte, a senior at Leesville, finds herself stressed out during the week but finds that “[running is a great] stress reliever and way to hang out with [my] friends while staying active,” said Bunte over text. Bolin feels similar to Bunte, finding that running is a great way to wind down after a very stressful week.
Although running is a great stress reliever and is awesome to race, the main reason runners love the sport is the bond they form with their teammates. Cross country requires athletes to work extremely hard and push each other to their limits. Runners also spend long periods of time together during easy runs. This forms a strong bond between athletes, which is a huge reason that runners love the sport. Spending time running with friends is always enjoyable for the athletes and keeps the athletes coming back.
After Comeskey first joined the cross country team, she immediately made friends with some of her teammates. The friendships she formed were a huge reason that Comeskey continued to run. “Everyone on the team [is] super friendly and [makes] practice something to look forward to at the end of the day,” said Comeskey over text. Bolin really enjoys hanging out with his teammates as well. “Having a good hour and a half to two hour span of just easy running while talking with my buddies is an amazing thing to experience,” said Bolin over text.
The bond that teammates form is the main reason that runners continue to do cross country. From that bond, running becomes a great stress reliever for athletes, athletes can help push each other to their limits, and athletes can improve their times more. The bond between teammates is the foundation of the team’s success and keeps runners interested in the sport.