What is XC? Cross Country!

Geek!This is Nathan Calivoso’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

When I’m not running data-intensive apps, I am outside running — intensively. I run XC, to be exact. But, what is XC? Well, XC stands for cross country. Yes, I run both XP and XC!

I run on one of the best 4A high school teams in the state of Washington. Our team is 100 strong and still growing every year. Only a select few are eligible to run for varsity, so the majority of our team runs junior varsity. However, everyone still runs their hardest and pushes others to do so too – regardless of which part of the team they are on. For instance, our junior varsity boys have not lost a major race in about ten years. Also, our varsity and junior varsity girls dominate their races, as do the varsity boys. But, above all, we are a community of people who love getting together to help each other, chat together, and — of course — run together.

Cross Country is typically stereotyped to be a hard, grueling sport, and sometimes it is not even considered a sport. However, running cross country takes just as much training and effort as any other sport. Here are some reasons that you would want to join or even watch a cross country meet.

  1. Unlike track, cross country doesn’t get boring — when you run cross country, you are faced with things obstacles that you could never find in track and field. You would run up hills, down hills, through forest, on sand, through water, and even through the mud. From the spectators’ view, you will enjoy the intensity of the runners’ will to fight through the hills and through the obstacles. Also, the spectator will enjoy a chuckle here and there as the runners attempt to run dive through mud or water, and every so often they would enjoy a face plant or two.
  2. The atmosphere at a cross country event — the runners are able to enjoy the scenery and outdoors for most of their runs. However, the runners also find the adrenaline of running past crowds, screaming their heads off as your finish. As a spectator, you have an important job. You are the mental support that brings them to the finish.
  3. Ecologically, cross country doesn’t leave a footprint — cross country doesn’t require fields or large venues. From stadiums to over fertilized fields, we leave foot prints on the environment from playing sports. However, when you run cross country, all you need is a pair of running shoes. Runners can run anywhere they want. We do not need any stadiums. If you put string through a forest that will determine our path, we will race on it.
  4. Having the privilege of working together in a community — we all work together to be successful. The coaches and the team are only half of the community. The spectators are a huge help. As I stated before, the crowd is what drives the runners to finish. Another part of the community is actually the Internet. If you go on to athletic.net, you are will find yourself in a huge community. There, you are able to check stats on high school students, check schedules on races, and even check stats on other schools. From here you can keep up of your times for improvement and even keep an eye on your rival.
  5. Anyone can come join us — if you’ve ever run, you can join. Anyone can run with us! The runners who run cross country are very diverse. Some could be tall, some could be short — that’s me. Some could be slow and steady, some could be speedy fast, but it doesn’t matter in the end. Everyone will have the satisfaction of finishing a 3 mile race — not everyone can say they have accomplished that.

If you don’t want to race, consider the health benefits of just running. Runners are looking for support. Try it; you never know where your feet can take you while you’re running. Because of XC, I have considered taking up parkour, but that’s for another time. Consider joining the milers…

59 thoughts on “What is XC? Cross Country!”

  1. Cross Country is one of the coolest sports out there. The practices are grueling, so a real feeling of camaraderie develops between the teammates.
    I like his point about the spectators being important to the overall flow of the race, because they have helped me on numerous occasions persevere and continue running.

  2. The other XC is a 4×4. No, not the relay race, but a true 4-wheel drive vehicle. It’s a Volvo XC90 to be precise (http://is.gd/araH). This just to prove that there’s other definition to the letters XC. I’d love to do XC in this SUV!

  3. That’s a very inspiring article, Nathan! I run XC as well for my high school team in New Jersey. Our team is well under your 100 members… the last 4 years, we’ve barely had 20 (boys and girls combined). But a smaller team creates a special bond between all of us. In fact, sometimes before a big race, each person would host a dinner, complete with something every runner needs: pasta. Mmmm…

    Anyway, that’s for promoting cross country to those who may not have heard of it. Remember this tag line: Real athletes run miles, not yards. 😉

  4. I run cross-country and I must say that I love it. I have been running it for 2 years as I am only in the 8th grade and enjoy it. I only run 2 mile races right now, but still it earns the respect of even the biggest jockeys. Not many of them can say that they can run 2 miles in under 15 minutes without any type of break. So yea, I run OSX and XC.

  5. That;s what i love about XC/Track and field. The support of your friends and family rooting for you. And how you feel proud at the end and realize that you still have the pride to finish a 3-mile race. I like how teammates motivates you never to give up ad finish what you started. Not only this inspire you to finish the race but also in general.

  6. I know at least half a dozen people that run cross-country, and I have to say that I am very proud to support their team. They give me the courage to stay strong in whatever I’m doing, even if there are “hills” to venture over, and “streams” to cross, and I am very grateful to have them as a part of my life. Even though running isn’t my passion, it is for so many others, and it proves that you don’t have to be someone who can hit a ball at 98 mph or do a slam dunk, but have the dedication to run, wherever, whenever, to follow what you believe, even if you aren’t the greatest.

  7. Nathan,

    I think this is a great essay. Not only are you a great writer, but your passion towards cross country shows.
    I have ran cross country with you and i know that you are very passionate about it. When i talk to people about cross country they think that it is just “running” but your third paragraph (with the 1,2,3…) really shows what is needed to be put into the sport, and what it’s all about.

    I am not a huge fan of XC, but reading this essay made me miss it. Just a little though.

    Great Job,
    Craig

  8. Nate, this blog entry has inspired me to take up running again.
    I also agree with your statement about not wanting to race. I strongly believe that people must consider the health benefits of running…or at least daily exercise (anyway that’s not the point i’m trying to make lol)..
    What i’m trying to get at is that it takes a lot of work and determination for cross country runners to race 😀

    Anyway 🙂 hope you win cuzzy!!!! regards to the family
    x

  9. Now I don’t see see myself as a runner, but I can tell you have amazing dedication to cross country and I am proud of you bwodew. I have never experienced it, but I have certainly seen how grueling practice can be, but you keep at it and that is the important thing. Good job!!!

  10. I hope you win!!
    I think you made a really good article. It was really inspiring and it really made cross country sound like a really fun sport. Your article inspires my almost as Little Bwodew from Homestar Runner, the little three legged dog who could!

  11. Hey boy!

    You have been running since you could walk and I guess it was inevitable that you would gravitate towards cross country. I am happy that cross country will keep you healthy!

    I am so very proud of you!!!

    Love,
    Mom

  12. For me, I am certainly not a runner. In fact, I’m one of those people who stereotype cross country and running in general to be very hard and grueling as you’ve stated above. Don’t get me wrong, I know it takes a whole lot of effort and strength to keep on pulling threw, but I’ve come to the realization that it really isn’t as bad as what I imagined. You make it sound somewhat relaxing and enjoyable even, and I can see how it could never get boring. I think it would be so fun to get down and dirty, running through mud and everything else and I know for a fact that it can be fun because everyone that I see is always smiling and laughing at the meets I’ve been to. I highly respect those who can say they can run 3 or more miles and have enough strength to do it all again the next day. Very impressive. But keep up the good work and “keep on truckin”.
    (Lolsauce on that one!!)
    I love you baby! You’re great!!!

  13. Nathan,
    Ive always thought about running XC. I mean come on, think of all the carbs you are able to eat. Im really jealuos. I think its really cool that you have this much passion for cross country, to write all this. By writing this you’ll inspire a lot of people and make them come to realize how great this SPORT is including myself. Congrats,
    BBJ

  14. For me, I am certainly not big on running. In fact, I am one of those people who in the past have stereotyped cross country to be very hard and grueling as you’ve stated above. Don’t get me wrong, I know how much strength and effort you need to put into it, but now that I know more about cross country, it doesn’t seem as bad as I imagined. From what you say about it, you make it actually seem somewhat relaxing and enjoyable. I even think it would be so much fun to get down and dirty running through the mud and from what I’ve seen by going to some of your meets, everyone there does have fun, both runners and spectators. Everyone is always smiling and joking around. It truly is a nice atmosphere. I’ve also come to highly respect people who run cross country because they have so much endurance and put so much effort into what they love. Anyone who can run 3 or more miles and then do it all again the next day is just amazing. Keep up the good work and “keep on truckin”.
    (Lolsauce on that one!!)
    I love you baby! You’re great!!!

  15. Cross country’s the best running sport out there. No materials needed except yourself and…yourself. It combines a balance of both speed and endurance–and few people are talented enough to have both. Keep on running!

  16. I see that you really do love this sport. I too believe that running 3 miles is absolutely insane! But, I do play a sport. I play basketball here in Arizona. Oh I just actually thought of something another reason i don’t run cross country… its too hot for me outside! I see the cross country runners dying out in the heat especially summer practices. I think some of them don’t even have official practices in the summer, I think they just practice out of their own will. I mean they are crazy! But I have to say I do respect you guys! That’s some hard work! More to the point, I like the air conditioned gym and that’s where I’m staying, but I must say “mad props” =].

  17. Nathan, before reading your article, I had no idea that cross country was such a great sport. My school has cross-country, but like most people, I thought it was just a boring sport where athletes would just run around. I see now after you pointed out that it is not boring and people experience alot while competing. You get to run through many terrains, such as mud and sand and beleive me, you need to train a lot to prevent from getting winded while running in the sand. Cross country kind of reminds me of those marathons where fans cheer the participants on motivating them to the finish line, but instead of finishing individually, you get the satisfaction of winning with your team. I find your passion for this sport very inspirational and for a person with this much heart for one sport deserves much CONGRATS!! GOOD LUCK(:

  18. Cross Country is the greatest highschool sport and yet it is one of the smallest. If you would ask me why this is I would say because this sport is also the hardest highschool sport. It takes a hardcore person to run fast for 3.1 miles and not many people can do that.

  19. not to get all “sciencey” on Sean but real athletes don’t run miles instead of yards…REAL athletes run kilometers (instead of meters). Like the blog Nate…but the site doesn’t scroll smoothly…it’s real choppy. Not your fault, obviously, but thought I’d mention it. Tahoma Bears rule! As for sports, I hate running, always have always will…but strap a board on my feet and give me a “great white wave” and we’re talking synchronicity baby! I shred, therefore I am. Peace out, holmes.

  20. Yeah, I agree with everything you stated. My dad was a runner in college, and he ran for state and got 4th place! I think that it is essential for anyone to get good excersize daily, and XC does a great job sustaining physical and mental strength for the runner. Keep up the good work, Nate. Fight for the WIN!

  21. I have to say, I’m not that big on the whole running idea but your article shows how truely dedicated you are!

    And it is in many ways, persuasive!

  22. Before reading this, all I thought cross country was was running until you throw-up or collapse. Yeah , I know, weird inferences but this article has show me it is so much more than that!

    Spectacular job!!!!

  23. I run cross country also and it is really nice to hear from someone so into this sport. GOOD LUCK!!!!!

  24. I have always ran in trakc and field and I never really considered cross country! It seems like something new and exciting I would really want to try! Keep running!

  25. I really like how you don’t only concentrate on what the actual runners have to do
    You also talk about the improtance of the audience and how important they are to the runners

  26. It must be an honor to run in such an elite cross country team. I’m guessing you work pretty hard, but the thing you have to do is keep at it.
    I loved your writing

  27. I have always considered cross country as a very under-rated sport, one that no one really hears about or cares about, but I’m sure this article will open their eyes to what a great sport cross country really is.

  28. I used to be in cross country
    I honestly did not like it
    Too much pressure.
    But I liked what you said about it because it is all true

  29. I have run xc in the past, but I prefer marathoning. There is no real competition except against yourself, and so you can’t blame others like in xc. The courses are just as cool, but many marathons have thousands upon thousands of spectators. Also, any age can become a marathoner unlike in cross country where it’s typically dominated by high schoolers with only a few going on to the college scene.

    Regardless of what distance you do however, running is a great sport.

  30. Thanks Nathan. I’ve been overweight for quite a few years now, and after reading your article, I decided to run 1.5 miles. That was one of the hardest things I have ever done, yet I’m going to keep running and have even joined a running club.

    On Sunday I spectated at a 5k (that’s 3.14 miles), although it wasn’t for cross country. Watching those runners and walkers whiz by gave me enough motivation to run after the race, and I did my first 2 miler. Keep up xc and have a healthy life

  31. That is an interesting point but I happen to be in soccer and I usually join cross country to get ready for the season

  32. I was thinking about the whole competitive stuff that goes into it and that is probably one of the only things that would keep me from joining, health benefits or not.

  33. I have heard that running cross country can take a toll on your body, like aching muscles, stiffness, etc. Do you think maybe it’s because they don’t properly cool down or warm up or something?

  34. Aside from all the hard work that is put into practice. Cross country really is a very fun and exhilarating experience that I will never forget

  35. I have very strong feelings about running in general, I will not say whether they are good or bad, but I can also see you have just as strong feelings for running as I do.

  36. Nathan,
    This is awesome. It exemplifies everything intense and inspirational about XC. I’ve been running for only two years and it has already become a huge thing in my life. It gives me something to work for, plus there is nothing better then the adreniline you get sprinting down the final 100m. Running for any XC team is insane especially ours. Way to go. It is just one more small step to making XC more popular.

  37. Nathan,

    Great essay! Your passion for cross country is obvious and i can tell you put alot of thought into this write. I can’t even begin to imagine the endurance needed to do such a physically demanding sport. For this, I applaud you.

  38. Nathan! I had no idea Tahoma did so well in cross country! At least were good at something haha You made some really good points about getting out there and running and i have decided to give XC a try! Its nice to see you so into something 🙂 Great paper.

  39. Wow Nathan, I was really impressed when I read your article. The way you described XC not only inspired me through your writing style, but it also gave me the urge to go out and try it for myself. It does seem like a difficult sport, but the benefits of running that you talked about really shows how amazing the sport is.

    Congrats, keep it up!! 🙂

  40. Like you said, Cross country is looked at as a gruling sport and sometimes is overlooked as a sport at all! I also run XC and after a bigg race you fell so good and so accomlished! i also encourage others to get out and try it. well writen nathan.

  41. Finally i sport that isnt killing our planet! haha You really brought alot of plus side arguments to my attention that i never even thought of before! I honestly think cross country is one of the best sports out there! I really liked your essay too, you have a great writing style and great voice.

  42. Nathan, that was very informative! i am one of those pepole who can barley stand the thought of running but i never thought about all the stuff you wrote about haha keep up the awesome work nathan, in your writting and in XC.

  43. Such dedication!
    If only everyone were this convicted about their own passions!
    XC is totally a beast sport too~
    It doesn’t take any fancy equipment. The rules are simple, yet the sport is intense. Not just anyone can do what XC runners can.
    You obviously have the determination it takes.

  44. Hey it’s Casey. I ran across your link–no pun intended–and I never knew you ran XC. I’ve thought about it, but always put it off… I never really understood why you would run an insane amount of miles, but I understand now. I see that it is for the feeling of the cheering and accolades that you get when you come around that finish line! I think I might reconsider join the XC team.

  45. Nate. Man… You are crazy at running. And I just have to say this amazing. Points are very good. This is totally a sport for the outdoory type. Just running though the wood, enjoying good clean air from the trees. *sigh* Good life.

  46. Hmm… fairly written, but I still wouldn’t want to join XC. I don’t think I could keep up with the “rip your eyes out” training. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I am pretty lazy. Don’t get me wrong, I like it, just wouldn’t do it.

  47. Well… I like the article, but I still wouldn’t want to do it. I mean, it’s too much work. I mean sure you get some benefits out of it, but it takes a long time. I would get bored because of my short attention span. And you would be like the Coach Z and be all sweaty and Strong Bad is now down with that. Nick aka (UKnowDaCheat) Boom!

  48. Wow… XC… I never thought you would do this Nathan, but I see why now. This actually makes me want talk to some of the XC peps at my school to see what its all about. Hey! I might make some awesome new friends. Thanks for the interesting read. Oh and work hard kid. lol.

  49. I know what drives you in particular Nate. I know what you look for when you cross the finish line–and it’s not food–it’s your girlfriend. I noticed that she is one of those working members of the crowd. She cheers for everyone–especially you–and I think that is one of the pictures you paint in your head huh! lol That’s what I would do if I had a boyfriend who would come to watch me ;-]

  50. I saw some of your pictures on that link at the top. Your face is so funny =p, but I can sense your concentration. One thing, though on your pictures from that one page link at the top with your name, remember to look up, you will be able to run faster. Don’t look at your feet. Oh and good article. Way to represent XC! Remember only cross country runners can say that “They’re too XC for their shirts.” rofl

  51. Hmm… geekyness and athleticism. Interesting combination. That little comment about running XP and XC, really corny, but if it’s true it’s true. Anyways, I see that running is good for people, and even you geeks out there who aren’t diggin running, what about walking? Same benefits, the only difference… Takes 2x as long, but hey better than nothing at all. Keep it up.

  52. Kumusta po! I see that you like to run cross country. It is a fun sport! I’ve ran it for 2 years, me sophomore and this my junior year. I’ve enjoyed all the different courses that I’ve been on. And I must say it is nice to see another Filipino doing XC. I was scared I might never meed someone else who would! Come find me on MySpace and we can chat about stuff! Salamat po!

  53. Three cheers for Cross Country! I totally love to run cross country, but why is it that some people but CC instead of XC? Have you noticed that at meets? I think that it’s okay if it has the cross country arrow through it, but just having it plain is not as great looking as XC. Well anyways, thanks for promoting XC to the geek community!

  54. No no no. I don’t agree with XC being a sport. All you are doing is running. It is in it’s own category, like Track and Field is. The details sound good, but it doesn’t make it a sport. I play football and I think that it is a real sport. In football you have offense, defense, rules, regulations, a national league, and other skills along with running. This is what I believe makes a sport. Nice try, persuading me to accept as a sport, but no cigar. Cody (Wu-Tang Foreal)

  55. I play multiple sports but have some knee and back issues and so would not do well witht he endurance running. Long distances runners are very admirable for their endurance both mentally and physically but my body just wouldnt be able to take it.

  56. I loved how you talked about anybody being able to enjoy the accomplishment of completing a three mile run- so true. I may not be a xc buff like yourself, but I can definitely admire the dedication you all put forth into the sport.
    Great essay, man!

    Elise

  57. Nathan. Running cross country this year was a great experience. It was fun to meet new people and get in the healthy habit of running. I didn’t even think about running xc until last summer when sean introduced it to me. I wish I would have started earlier but I look forward to running with the team next year.

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