It’s the most wonderful time of the year! For many of us at Potomac River Running, cross country is or was that time. Being a company that was founded by runners and is filled with runners, the =PR= Family is filled with those who have found a deep connection to the sport of cross country. That connection stems from time in high school, that may have developed into a college career, and for our owners, Ray and Cathy Pugsley, those years of cross country eventually led to professional running careers.
At Potomac River Running, this is a magical time of the year. The early weeks of August is a time where the stores of Loudon and Fairfax County are filled with high school runners, parents, and coaches as we host a number of team nights for local schools. During the season, we host, sponsor, and time local high school races. We are deeply rooted into this sport and time of year. Gina from =PR= Leesburg has ran and coached cross country, and she finds no better feeling than being a part of a young runner’s journey.
Running can easily be seen as an individual sport, but cross country incorporates a team aspect that is special to those who have ran it. Erik from =PR= Fairfax believes that a team can be the most effective way to bring out each person’s best. He found a group of friends and teammates whom he could rely on and trust, and when his team went to States, it was from executing a powerful team plan and working together. Our =PR= Burke manager, Andrew, found the enthusiasm and success of his fellow teammates most helpful to bring him his own success. Cross country is scored by a team’s top-five runners, and runners six and seven act as a tiebreaker: a strong team is not won by just the top runner, but instead by the supporting cast.
Oprah Winfrey said it well when she said that running is the greatest metaphor for life. Much can be learned from the miles. Grant from =PR= Reston believes cross country is the sport of ultimate dedication. There’s rarely luck in cross country, it really comes down to how the body is treated before, during, and after a run. The work ethic developed during cross country translates to future endeavors. Gina has seen the sport from two lenses: a runner and a coach. She understands the importance of putting in the time and fully committing. Grant reinforces that belief when mentioning the additional work outside of practice helped him find success; from his diet, hydrating, massage rolling, and getting adequate sleep, these were tools that creates a strong work ethic that will lead to success.
More than anything else, cross country runners will always tell you how fun their experiences were. A special bond is created during those summer and fall runs with friends and teammates. From summer workouts to all-day weekend invitationals, there is so much time spent with the teammates that it creates a brother or sisterhood. When every runner is running the same event together, it’s easy for everyone to relate to each other and help one another.
Cross Country is a sport like no other. It will push you beyond your comfort level and bring you back stronger than imagined. No course is the same, so it requires runners to constantly evolve and prepare for what’s next. We want to wish everyone the best of luck this season, whether it’s your first year or returning year. Enjoy every moment of it because there’s nothing quite like cross country.
-Aaron, =PR= Fairfax