I may not be the lithest, the most talented, or have the fastest time in the field, but I have passion and courage, and sometimes that is enough to do something extraordinary."
-- Lauren Fleshman
This is my favorite time of the year. Whispers of fall are creeping in: crisp nights here and there, a tree with a smattering of brightly colored leaves. This is the time for running.
As a kid, I discovered a whole new side of myself when I signed up to join my first cross country team. I was intensely shy and anxious, and to this day, I don't know what made me scrawl my name onto that sign-up sheet on the athletic director's door. But once I arrived at those practices, something started to fall into place. Moving next to my teammates, with no initial expectations except to put one foot in front of the other, felt accessible and also freeing. I found stillness and calm within myself as I moved, an irony that I revel in to this day. At my first races, the butterflies at the starting line made me question my decision to join the team. But after the gun went off, I found myself seeking my teammates, pushing myself one literal step at a time, and finishing with a profound sense of accomplishment.
Cross country is a pure sport. There is a start and a finish and the path between the two. Every runner that toes the line will have to traverse the same trail in the same weather. The distance covered will be measured in minutes and seconds, points will be awarded based on place, and the fastest individual will win while the team with the fewest points will be victorious. It seems simple, but there's something spectacular about the courage and the heart that is required in each race.
On any given day, a runner has the opportunity to break a new boundary, to set a new personal record. Consider: a personal record is the first time one's body has ever achieved that time. She has to toe the line and ask herself: what can I do TODAY? What WILL I do today? And with each passing moment of the race, she must conquer invading doubts, overcome the increasing fatigue, and press on. Each step is an act of courage,
If you're looking to watch some brave, exciting moments, consider coming to an upcoming cross county meet and cheering on our Bobcats. On October 5, we'll be hosting our only home meet of the season on the new course at the Lansing Center Trail. We have several other nearby competitions listed on this site's calendar. The NY State Cross Country Championships will be held nearby at Chenango Valley State Park on November 12.
And if you're looking for a starting line for yourself or your child, a chance to listen to your inner courageous runner, please consider: