Running builds character

Being involved in cross country and track has taught me how to work with others and how to push myself

Running+builds+character

Jonathan Atchley, JagWire reporter/photographer

To most people, running is a black and white thing, either you love it or you hate it. There is no middle ground. As someone who has been running since seventh grade, my relationship with running has changed greatly throughout my Cross Country and Track career. After all these years, running is no longer about simply finishing my mileage and going home, rather it is about pushing myself to get better everyday.

In high school, training never really stops. We move from summer practice to the cross country season, to winter training, then track season, and the cycle continues. Almost every day after school, I am out running with my teammates, and while to some this might seem like a painful and pointless endeavor, to me, it changes the way I think, act and live. All the years I’ve spent running have taught me a lot about life and about myself. I’ve learned that it is okay to push your limits, okay to be uncomfortable, and okay to have bad days. It has made me a better person in more ways than I can explain. Running is a way for me to relax and push myself at the same time, as well as how to work with others and about sacrifice.

Running has also taught me to work with others. This might not make much sense, because running is a solo sport, but to me, it is anything but a solo sport. Every day after school, I walk down a C hallway that is full of people I am proud to call teammates. When running in groups, communication is key; everyone has to be on the same page when it comes to distance, direction and pace or people will get lost or even injured.

I spend almost every day after school running as well as most Saturdays and all summer. Running takes up a huge part of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That is a sacrifice I choose to make in order to better myself and for my teammates. By being a part of our cross country and track teams, I have a commitment to my teammates to show up every day and do my best.

I am incredibly grateful for the lessons running has taught me. While I don’t think running is for everyone, it has made me less stressed, more social and much healthier.

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