Cross country running

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Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. The course, typically 4–12 kilometres (2.5–7.5 mi) long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road and minor obstacles. It is both an individual and a team sport; runners are judged on individual times and teams by a points-scoring method.

Crosscountry is a team sport, too, and many a meet has been won by what the English call "packing," whereby one team sticks together and the good runners encourage the poorer ones, until the final dash home. ~ Harold Keith
Cadets on a cross-country run near Royal Air Force College Cranwell

Quotes[edit]

  • This sport originated in England where it flourishes unabated from September to April and where a whiff of nippy autumn air is a challenge to thousands of Britishers of all ages who run simply for pleasure and exercise during the cooler months. In America, where the colleges and clubs run from four miles to 10,000 meters, the sport is newer. Especially it is new in our high schools, where two-mile crosscountry runs in October and November have become popular in the East and some of the midwestern states.
    The charm of this race lies in the fact that the runners get away, for at least one season in the year, from the monotony of cinder track running, for the crosscountry courses are routed out in the country over hills, grass, roads and stone fences where contestants constantly encounter different running surfaces and changing autumnal scenery that helps them forget the mental and physical fatigue of the race. The sport is also a prime conditioner for track men. Distance men who run crosscountry in the fall will beat the other half-milers and milers in the spring. A thorough physical examination followed by a moderate but intelligent training program of from six to eight weeks, should be a required precaution. Runners should gain back the following day all weight lost during practice. Sleep and an occasional after-lunch nap are marvelous stamina-builders for this race.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 255
  • It is wise to know the course thoroughly before running it. If possible, go over it in an automobile or walk it the day before the race, studying it carefully. Try to keep a map of it in the head and have the short cuts figured out. Always run in as straight a line as possible and you will save as high as 40 or 50 years in a single race. If you are to race on a foreign course, adapt your training to it. If it is a hilly course, do a lot of hill running in your own country. If there are no hills there, run up and down your stadium. The same thing applies to flat running, or to races held on grass or asphalt. You should practice running on the flat the week before the race.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 256-257
  • In a race, the ambitious contestant will want to stay fairly close to the leaders. He should be careful not to kill himself off at the start. He should let somebody else lead if the course is wet or the wind is blowing against him, and should watch the ground for good footing and keep a wary eye on his opponents to prevent being spiked or boxed. However, if the pace is too slow, he will want to take the lead. When fatigue strikes, the runner will want to call upon all his pluck. He must forget weariness by thinking of form and concentrating upon running as effortlessly and relaxed as possible. When the pace whips up at the start of the last half-mile, he remembers that he can always go a little farther and faster than he thinks he can. Mental fatigue comes before physical fatigue; in fact more races are lost through inability to resist mental fatigue than for any other reason. How many times have you heard a defeated runner ruefully exclaim after a race; "I could have run faster. I just didn't put out. I didn't know I had so much strength left."
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 257
  • Crosscountry is a team sport, too, and many a meet has been won by what the English call "packing," whereby one team sticks together and the good runners encourage the poorer ones, until the final dash home.
    • Harold Keith, Sports and Games (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1941), p. 257

External links[edit]

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