The Cross-Country Debate: Sport for the Weak or Exercise for the Strong?


            The sport of cross country is simply fierce competition in a scenic wilderness setting. Sounds great, right? Just ask any member of the NT cross country team. Our team is small, with many runners preferring to train on their own. Is it because people think cross-country is a “wimpy” sport? Is it even a sport?  Cross-country is generally acknowledged as a sport where few people compete and even fewer people succeed.

            First and foremost, cross country is a sport. Though running is relaxing, cross country is not. In cross-country you must build your endurance, stamina, and lower body strength. Coaches always remind us to mentally prepare ourselves for the grueling trail ahead. You must never stop running! Many cross-country runners interviewed for this article mentioned that cross-country is better known as an individual sport; however, there are chances for teams of runners to succeed.

            It’s an individual sport in the sense that it’s one person against two hundred other people, while, on the other hand, it’s a team sport when runners are able to draw motivation from each other.

            Madeleine Cummings, three-time OFSAA cross-country competitor, hates racing. “Every year, someone on the start line is nearly in tears, groaning ‘Why do I do this?’ and murmurs of approval and self-pity follow.” Running a race is not what normal people would describe as “fun,” but it is rewarding, and that’s why runners keep coming back to compete. Many people think that running requires minimal skill and lots of talent, but Cummings mentions, “you can be born as a sprinter, but raised as a runner”. Distance running requires a little bit of talent and a lot of training. Anyone can do it, and it’s also a great cross-training sport. Face it, most popular sports involve running.

            Still think cross-country is a wimpy sport? Here are two things that cross-country runners suggest you to do. One, talk to Billy Silverstein. Two, run up your local ski hill a few times, and report back to us.