Is Cross Country a Real Sport?

IsCrossCountryARealSport__Anushka_VijayWriter: Shawna T.

Visual: Anushka V.

Editor: Kay S.

Cross Country. A sport, infamous for being intensely rigorous and demanding. But is it well-known for all the wrong reasons? 

To put it simply, according to varsity runner, Ignacio M., “Cross Country is running around in circles,” 

Yeah, literally. While taking into consideration my limited knowledge of Cross Country (XC), I believe that XC is a sport, but it’s a simple claim with many unanswered questions. 

What constitutes a sport? According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, sport is “any recreational activity; specific., a game, competition, etc. requiring bodily exertion.” I think I can speak for everyone when I say that XC most definitely fits into this category. 

To better help me understand the rigorous requirements of XC, another varsity runner, Ian C., elaborates on what is expected of the runners during practice. “[We] do what Coach Respecki tells us to do,” he starts. “So [we] run six times a week, two of which are varying intensity which he makes for [us].”

To give you an idea of what these exercises specifically entail, Mari K., another varsity athlete, claims that they “run workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays,”. She continued by expressing the difficulty of running “forty-five to sixty minutes for the rest of the days,” 

That’s non-stop running across the expanse of our school, every single day. At this point, there really isn’t a square inch of ISM that the hard-worn soles of Cross Country athletes haven’t touched. 

I genuinely believe that XC may be the toughest sport available at ISM. Not only does one have to physically prepare oneself for the demanding expectations of running, but XC is as much of a mental sport as it is physical. 

In its simplest terms, running is really, really hard. There’s a sense of monotony in the constant pumping of your legs and your arms that don’t appeal to the general population. In fact, Ignacio M., even suggests that “Cross Country athletes are masochists,” 

He elaborates on his bold claim by following up with, “It’s full of hard practices, midnight cramps, and lonely jogs at five am or ten pm or in the blazing heat,”

Although XC is considered a more individual sport over others, at its core, there’s a sense of community in the idea of supporting your fellow athletes. Picking them up when they’re down, not letting them give up. The mentality of not giving up is rooted within each runner and is what, I personally believe, to be the core of sport as well. 

So, before you even start to think that XC isn’t a sport, I suggest you go take a jog with our fantastic cross country athletes. Their ability to constantly push themselves both physically and mentally, almost every day, drives (or should I say: runs) the point home. 

Cross Country, which involves both competition and community—is the quintessential sport.