Cross Country: a True Test of Strength

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Racing is the rawest way to measure one’s ability against another’s. Whether it is skiing, swimming, or running, one’s will is tested and pushed to the breaking point in an effort to go faster and further than one’s competitor. There are very few athletic events that allow one to clearly determine their dominance over another competitor. Cross country is one of these few events and should be recognized as a sport and be re-included as an official Olympic sport.

Cross country is more than just running; it is a team sport that requires teamwork, endurance, and a very experienced coach. A cross country team consists of a seven men. The top five runners score in a race, but all seven are equally important. Without one of these elements the team will fail. For a team to succeed, runners must work hard and be dedicated to their event.In running there are three large categories: sprinters, marathoners or long distance runners, and middle distance runners. Sprinters compete in the shorter races including the 400m and 200m sprints. Marathoners run a consistent distance of about 26 miles (42 km) usually on a paved surface. Cross country, however, takes place on trails and courses that range in distance from 5 km to 12 km. The purpose of a cross country race is to challenge the athletes to overcome hills, mud, and other obstacles that are placed in their way. This is much different than marathons, which are usually all flat, and sprints, which are always run on a track. Also, cross country races are team events, where as sprints, with exception to the relays, and marathons are all individual efforts. Cross country greatly exceeds the quality demanded by marathons or sprints. Cross country demands speed, endurance, and depth of a team.

The dynamics of cross country are no different from any other sport, for example, football. You have a large team, but when competing, only a select few participate. In football, all positions are of equal importance. If the offensive...
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