Cross Country Builds Mental Toughness

Jane Taylor

Have you ever had to run laps at practice as a punishment for not getting a play right? What about those mile Mondays in gym class? If you said yes, then you know what goes straight through your mind as soon as your coach said, “run.” Cross country is a long-distance event where runners will train for five km, high-pressure races. They will learn to broaden their mental strength the longer they compete. Most people think of running as some sort of penalty, but to a few others it can be a place to let go and push yourself to limits you didn’t know were there.

Varsity cross country runner Liam Black (10) said his favorite part about running is the competition with himself. The hardest part, to him, is to keep a good mindset while he runs. The underrated factor about cross country is that the sport is more about mental toughness than physical capability.

On the girl’s side, varsity runner Alicia Durfee (11) said that she loves it for the mental health benefits and the way she feels as she finishes a run. She said, “It gives you a feeling of confidence, and you feel very proud of yourself after you run.” The hardest part, in her opinion, is to keep pushing yourself even though you feel like you want to quit. She explained that it is a challenge, but her love for the sport keeps her going. Durfee said it is the most underrated sport because “no one wants to willingly run.” She explained the slogan “My sport is your sport’s punishment,” is a very harsh, but very true reality to cross country.

As of last season, Liam Black ran an 18:55 as a freshman. Alicia Durfee’s personal record is a 21:11.