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Calling All Runners!

As students, most of our time each day is spent sitting down in chairs, bending our backs to write notes and get materials from our bags, and staring at screens inside and outside of class. Our classes are almost always held inside, away from the fresh air, sunlight, and nature. With the onset of the pandemic, we have also been compelled to wear masks indoors and meet people less often.

This is far from optimal. What are all these hours spent stationary doing to our health? How many benefits of nature are we missing out on because of all this time indoors? Shouldn’t we be looking for more ways to meet people, rather than less? Clearly, the way we live now can be greatly improved.

Now, obviously we can’t skip school to play football all day nor shift all our classes outside (at least, not without another pandemic!), but there are some ways for us to get more active and closer to nature. In particular, cross country running is perfect for both of these needs.

As anyone who has attended the Saint Anselm’s 5K Walk/Run knows, cross country is a respectable athletic sport that challenges runners of all ages, builds their endurance, and trains them to run faster and farther. Cross country runners experience nature as an environment up close rather than a backdrop from afar, and their constant exercise keeps them well in shape.

Our Cross Country Team here at Saint Anselm’s holds practices three times a week, providing regular exercise for our athletes and training them to make exercise a habit outside of school. Middle school and high school runners practice at the same time on campus, usually in separate groups, although occasionally the whole team joins together for an exciting game of Foxes and Hounds, also known as Infection/Zombie Tag. As any Saint Anselm’s Cross Country runner can tell you, Foxes and Hounds is an exhilarating way to end any school day!

In addition to the regular practices, the Saint Anselm’s Cross Country Team attends several meets throughout the running season, a couple of which are held on our own beloved campus. The competition of these meets and the training leading up to them strongly motivate our athletes to improve their running, and finishing each race evokes a sense of accomplishment, especially when runners improve their 5K times. Achieving a high enough place among the Saint Anselm’s runners in the first meet of the season also earns high school athletes a spot on the varsity team. At the end of each race, Saint Anselm’s runners often get drinks like Gatorade and/or snacks after each race brought by wonderful, generous, and supportive parents. Finally, meets, as may be suggested by the name, are great events at which to meet new students from outside of Saint Anselm’s. If you’re looking to make new friendships and connections, Saint Anselm’s Cross Country just might be the place for you!

The most profound and important aspect of the Cross Country Team, though, is undoubtedly the camaraderie among its members. Teammates, especially those older and more experienced, keep each other accountable for working to the best of their ability and never cutting corners. Runners also encourage each other to exercise regularly, especially over the weekends. Finally, members of the team develop unmistakably unique friendships and bonds that bring them closer together and improve the morale of the team as a whole. Ultimately, the heart of the Saint Anselm’s Cross Country team lies in the commitment of its members to a healthy lifestyle, to the spirit of competition, and to each other.