Imagine a sport where the playing field is always different, everyone scores differently, and all you have to do to play is know how to breathe? Those are just the basics of cross-country running.
In the wide world of sports, cross country is sort of like a rare species: we know it’s there, but it seems we don’t really know a whole lot about it.
“Most people don’t know much about cross country running, other than it’s hard, so it’s best to keep the technical stuff out of it and make it interesting!” Kylie Edwards, coach of City College’s women’s cross country team.
Cross country is interesting, though, and much of that is credited to the differentiation of the courses. Runners compete on terrain that could be anything from muddy to grassy to sandy, and may have some steep hills. The length of the courses can vary from roughly between 2,000 to 5,000 meters. Scoring is also different, because the team with the least amount of points wins.
For the members of the women’s cross country team at City College, the reasons they joined the team are as unique as the sport itself. “Some want to go to a four-year school, some just to get in shape, some like the social aspect,” Edwards said.
Edwards talked about how this season is going and some of the challenges the City College team faces as well.
“Our first race at Palomar (College) went well,” she said. “Most of the girls are new to racing or haven’t raced for a while so are just getting their feet wet. Everyone adapts to running differently, so it’s a challenge to know how much training people can absorb without getting injured, and of course everyone has busy lives outside of running, so it’s hard to balance being full-time students, work, training, and family commitments too,”
The team is up against Irvine, amongst others, at the Irvine Invitational at Irvine Regional Park on October 11th, in Orange. Coach Edwards said she is looking forward to the competition. The team will be led by Captain Sarah McGregor, who is a veteran runner for City College.
“She ran all last year and trained all summer and came back in great shape. She is a very good leader,” Edwards said.
Edwards ran for SDSU and got into coaching as a way to stay with the sport. She is in her second year as head coach for the women’s cross country team at City College. For her, coaching brings different rewards than competing, however.
“Seeing people do/achieve something they never thought they could is very rewarding, and it’s great to see young people gain confidence through sport,” she said.
For those women on campus who don’t know much about cross country but might be interested in getting into the sport, Edwards had some advice as well: “Come talk to me!” she said. “If you can breathe, you can learn to run, it comes naturally to everyone.”