The dangers of X country

Abby Burton

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Who would have thought that cross country is the most dangerous sport of them all? Not me… until I joined the team.

Let’s start off with the temperatures in which the team is expected to run. The season starts in August, and it gets a little too hot for my liking.

There is a required state rule that we aren’t allowed to run in temperatures in the upper 90’s, but that doesn’t stop the team from running in even .1 degree lower than the legal maximum.

Although this seems like it would be super fun, feeling like I am going to die of heat stroke is not my idea of a good time.

On the other hand, the season doesn’t end until mid-October when it can get uncomfortably cold. Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to wear sweatshirts during the races, so by the end of a frigid three mile run, I can’t even feel my fingers.

Sometimes frostbite is an issue, but as runners we are just supposed to “walk it off” or “go find a warm blanket”.

The tough terrain of our running paths is another issue. The amount of people that I have seen fall on the sidewalks during practices and end up with [semi] severe injuries is slightly concerning.

Even one of our own staff members (Danni LeServe), took a rough tumble on the rocky gravel of Locust Road. Don’t worry everyone; she made a quick recovery.

I don’t know how many of you have competed in a cross country race before, but the start of the race is extraordinarily terrifying and unnecessarily dangerous. Around one hundred and fifty girls are expected to stand in a small four by four box before the race.

Imagine this in your head. Yes, you are imagining this correctly, cramming this many people into a space that small is merely impossible.

When the gun goes off, the stampede of people sprinting iscomparable to a herd of wild buffalo.

As expected, many girls fall to the ground and are left there to either continue the race or be picked up by a medical team.

Another frightening part of this sport is the courses we run on. Sure, Sheridan Road and Chestnut Road are safe and beautiful places to run, but they don’t prepare the pampered North Shore girls for the paths at Libertyville and Antioch.

I’d say roughly half of each of these courses takes place in a forest. I repeat, IN A FOREST.

For all I know, there could be a village of vicious raccoons ready to pounce on the girls running, or even a pack of wayward squirrels. The possibility for wildlife danger is endless.

If you haven’t heard of spikes before, they are a type of shoe that supposedly improves a runner’s race time.

Yes, the shoe does look like it sounds. Sharp edges stick out from the bottom to help create more friction with the shoe and the ground.

But let’s be honest, the combination of spikey shoes and clumsy teens will end poorly.
I guess the biggest danger of them all is getting caught by the coaches for making up a fake sickness or injury to get out of running. And no, I have not personally done this, but I’ve got to hand it to my teammates for some of the excuses they’ve come up with.

I have heard everything from a broken toe to a “sore” hip flexor. Anyways, let’s just say when the coaches find out that there is no broken nail or injured hip, the only way to come out of that conversation alive is to run.

Run as far away from the coaches as you can and never come back.

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