Foot at the line, everyone is a bundle of nerves. I feel my stomach churn with a strange mix of excitement and apprehension. There is an ominous hush before the methodical chaos. The gun cracks through the silence, triggering a sudden jolt of energy and agility. Each runner surges forward, and I feel lost in the messy crowd. I get jostled and shoved as I attempt to cling to the top pack. My mantra is that “all of my hard work will be worth it in the end,” and throughout the race, I quietly repeat that to myself.
My mantra is true though, because despite the panic and unease during cross country races, the hard work does pay off in the end. I’m not going to lie, running cross country is hard, but it’s the difficulty of it that makes it an even more valuable sport. Everyone who runs cross country must have at least some degree of diligence. With that knowledge, the amount of pride and respect you have for yourself and your rivals is like nothing else.
On the flip side, through all the painful workouts, sweat, and tears, you always end up knowing that you have your teammates to thank for getting you through it. Without them, you know that you wouldn’t have gotten as far as you did. People always say that running is hard, and it is a complete waste of energy, but in actuality, it has greater importance than people will ever know. With the wind rushing against your face, the rhythmic feeling of bounding across miles of road, and even the incessant chatter among your best pals, running is more than just a sport: it’s a driving, enthusiastic passion.
Maybe there is a science to such feelings; maybe the joy of running can only be accredited to the extreme rush of endorphins. Science aside, I think running is the art of how you move and respond to the rushing crowd around you. It is the camaraderie you have with both your teammates and your opponents. It is simultaneously intensely difficult and extraordinary. It is more than the simple act of moving your legs one step at a time; running is an unstoppable energy and love.