Article by: Aparna Mohan

Photo by: Mild Chawalitanon

Cross-country has never been much of a spectator sport. Partly because the course goes beyond what can be viewed from sitting in one place and partly because watching people run long distances is considered rather mundane.

But to the latter, the spectators that did grace the benches on the sidelines will tell you otherwise.

They will tell you that it is impossible not to feel chills as the athletes approach the finish line with their arms swinging, teeth clenched, hands balled into fists, legs almost leaping, and faces somehow simultaneously expressing pain and joy.  It’s hard not to feel moved as these runners, in their awe-inspiring show of perseverance, seem to transmute into living, breathing images of perseverance and endurance itself.

Today’s 3K run marked the final race in IASAS in which the athletes, fittingly, gave their last push.  While the overall standings were set primarily by the 5K, according to SAS Eagle Aadiraj B., today’s 3K “is still important for securing or improving [those] standings.”

The run, for both the girls and boys, was organized as a series of waves which consisted in a fixed number of athletes and were released at regular intervals in order to prevent overcrowding on the course. Time was kept track of through “ankle bracelets” secured onto each of the athletes which would then be handed over to the coaches for determining final results. The course itself extended beyond the HS field and onto ISM’s side of the road, through the ES and MS fields and back to the HS track with some ISM faculty following along in bicycles in order to ensure the safety of the athletes and of course, enforce fair play.

The athletes from all six schools began to fill up the sidelines and the field at 8am and used the time before their respective races in order to warm up, jog, and get pumped—be it through group huddles or team cheers. And while the morning rain made for quite a dark and dreary atmosphere, it certainly did not weaken any of our athletes’ spirits as seen when—asked to describe his feelings in one word—ISM’s Mitsuki S. enthusiastically exclaimed, “Excited!”

The girls’ race began at 8:30am with ISM’s Molly B. having achieved the remarkable feat of not only catching up with the first runner of the first wave (despite having been second wave herself) but also securing the fastest time at 11:11. The boys’ race on the other hand began at 9:30am and saw JIS Dragon Ernest B. achieve the fastest time at 9:47—an equally outstanding feat.

Despite the significantly different ranks achieved by schools today, the 3K did not change the overall standings for the girls, while for the boys, they only resulted in JIS switching places with ISM to take home the bronze.

As for overall highlights, Bearcat Sami U. notes that the beginning and end of the 5K were the most memorable and sentimental as their respective captains gave them pep talks—a testament to the fact cross country is impossible without the teamwork; but regardless of place, all the athletes today should be proud of their efforts and achievements because there is certainly something remarkable about completing a race. Isn’t that why it’s all too often the clichéd analogy for life?