Alainey Kovacs | Staff Writer
The common perception among most people tends to be that running track and cross country are very similar if not exactly the same. Most people believe that running is running no matter what, but they do not realize the differences between running cross country and track. Seniors Nicole Kissler and Tori Martin, who both have experiences running track and cross country, have a strong opinion about lumping the two sports together.
For Martin, cross country is more exciting because it’s a new course each week.
“In cross country you get to run on different courses each week where in track you run in circles,” Martin said. “Running the same course each time can be boring and repetitive. Running on different courses brings challenges. As a runner, you are always trying to get a personal record for the year and even for your entire career. Some courses are way harder than others depending on hills and the layout, so changing up the courses allows for more opportunities to get your fastest time on easier courses.”
Not only does cross country offer a change in scenery each week, but it also provides more team activities.
“For me, cross country is my favorite over track because team bonding is key in cross country,” Martin said. “Everyone runs together versus track where everyone has their separate events. We have a certain break down that we do before meets and after every practice, and we always do a team prayer before each race. Also, after morning practices we even try to go and get breakfast together as a team. On Fridays for practice we always have a different theme and creative outfits to make the practice fun.”
For Kissler, the atmosphere and the bond is essential on any team. She values the cross country rituals that track lacks.
“I like cross country way more because we are more of a team,” Kissler said. “Junior varsity and varsity always watch each other and cheer because we compete on the same day, which in track, JV and varsity compete on different days.”
It’s not just meet days where JV and varsity come together though. It’s also outside of cross country.
“In cross country we do fun team activities,” Kissler said. “Every Thursday night we have team dinner at Fazoli’s. At the end of the season we do secret pals.”
While the team atmosphere is one highlight for Kissler, she also enjoys the simplicity of a cross country race.
“From a running perspective, I enjoy running a 5k over any type of race that track offers and it is nice to just have one race instead of worrying about multiple events,” Kissler said.
Whether trying to obtain a personal record on a different course each race or participating in a team ritual before every meet, cross country is more than just about the distance ran. It’s about supporting each other and working to get better every day.