CCA Preview ’15: Track and Field

“The whole idea of Track and Field is not to beat your opponents, but to beat the little voice inside your head that wants you to quit.” – Lee Jun Lei, member of RI Track and Field 2014-2015

Track and field is the epitome of athleticism, a sport at its purest. Sweat, tears, blood constantly coax us to give up, and yet despite all these, we trackers continue to adore running, jumping and throwing. Why? Well, this is best encapsulated in our motto for this year: “We run because, we train despite.” Our differing goals and motivations are unified by the shared passion and shared vision of just very simply, doing our best.  It isn’t an easy sport, but the will and grit it imbues you with may well make it one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. And you can be sure that every step of the way will be accompanied by the myriad of voices from our team so variated, yet unshakeable in our ardent unity.

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The range of events in Track and Field is perhaps most telling of its all-encompassing nature where all are welcome no matter where your abilities lie. The specialisation of events brings out the focus needed to perfect the specificities of each event.  Gifted with strength? The javelin, shot put, discus beckons. Have an extra spring in your step? The sand pit and high jump mat are an inviting home where hours will be spent perfecting your jump technique. And of course, running. The intensity of a 100m race where months of training boil down to little more than ten seconds of a race, the mental fortification of running kilometre after kilometre in preparation of 800m where it’s do or die. You may ask, why do we do this? To us, it is not about the medals or winning competitions. What drives us is the simple satisfaction of beating our previous best timing, height, distance. Being able to see improvements with training, no matter how slight they are: that is enough to keep us going.

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However, RJ Track and Field isn’t all hardcore trainings and competitions. We and our coaches want to have fun as a team too, so every now and then we have exciting trainings at Botanic Gardens or the beach, where the training is a game and there are even cash prizes to be won. Besides that, members can look forward to team events throughout the year such as Track Camp (February), Track Night (June) and Track Chalet (December), and Movie Nights where we bond and spend time together off the track.

Intense game of Juggernaut/Running Man during Track Camp

Intense game of Juggernaut/Running Man during Track Camp

For many of us, Track and Field is our second family. Our teammates are our pillars of support, both on and off the track: from cheering each other on during gruelling trainings, to last-minute mugging together before CTs. Our seniors, who are much more like older siblings than seniors, are always willing to give advice regarding training or even school life in general. Many of our seniors continue to return to guide and mentor us even after they have graduated. Behind the scenes, our kind and passionate CCA Teacher ICs guide our EXCO in doing what’s best for the team and work tirelessly to ensure that all our CCA’s needs are met. And of course our dedicated and (self-proclaimed) hilarious coaches, whose training and mentorship have not only enabled us to perform the best that we can in our events, but who have imparted values in us and have nurtured us into being the people we are today.

Beach Training at East Coast Park

Beach Training at East Coast Park

Now, many of you who are reading this may have never had experience in Track & Field, and you may be wondering whether it is a good decision to join Track & Field in JC. Many of us had the same dilemma that you may be having now when we were choosing our CCAs one year ago. Indeed, we had our initial fears and doubts. However, we will wholeheartedly tell you that we have had no regrets joining Track & Field, this CCA that we’ve grown to love. Gabrielle See, Clara Chua, Rachel Ang and Huang Zi Xian, all of whom did not have prior experience in track nor sports CCAs in secondary school, share why they joined Track & Field and their experiences thus far:

Gabrielle See: I have always loved running since I was younger. Other than track relays held within school, I have had minimal experience, and hence jumped at the opportunity to do so here. I had especially loved long distance running as it was my outlet to clear my thoughts and to release my energy (and to build up fitness at the same time!). But somehow, I ended up in jumps instead! But I’m still very thankful for the chance given to be able to train under such a patient, loving and understanding coach, as well as alongside teammates that are encouraging and have been there for me every step (literally) of the way in track. These people are the sunlight to this budding seedling of a journey, and similar to how a budding seedling grows, there is no way but up!

The senior batch at Track Night ‘14

The senior batch at Track Night ‘14

Clara: I have always enjoyed running but never really got the chance to in my previous schools as I was in photography CCA. I joined sprints at the start of JC to build up my fitness.  I think many of us may fear that it may “too late” for newcomers to catch up as some Track and Field members have trained for several years. However, just one month after I joined Track and Field, our coach presented me with the opportunity to race 800m relay at Singapore Press Holdings Relay Championships. It was a bit overwhelming at the start and I even felt that my lack of experience might burden the team. However, my teammates and coach never left me to go through it all alone. With the support, guidance and encouragement, I eventually pulled through and our team won a 3rd place relay medal at the national level! Eventually, I moved to jumps to explore other aspects of the sport, and it has been a tremendously enriching and enjoyable experience thus far.

Rachel: I was never in a sports CCA before (I was in Debate previously), so I decided that JC was a good time to try something new. And that’s what led me to join track! Initially, track seemed like a individualized CCA to me. But I’ve been very fortunate to have met genuine and lovely people who have become some of my closest friends. Also, Track undeniably has a high commitment level, with training 3 times a week and with few breaks during the holidays but personally, I think this has allowed us to grow closer as teammates. I’m very grateful for being able to train with individuals who are incredibly driven and determined to excel, and I hope one day I’ll be able to perform as well as them!

Zi Xian: I too, was very apprehensive about joining a sports CCA as I was previously from photography CCA and a sport CCA seemed extremely demanding. To be honest, I only joined initially because I was rejected from my first choice. However, I am really glad I got rejected and joined Track and Field instead because otherwise, I would not have gotten to know my teammates with whom I spend a sizeable portion of my school life with! Them constantly being there for me spurs me to seek close relationships with them. Moreover the intensity of training serves as an opportunity to give each other moral support, which is always a nice feeling to have!

The RJTrack family at the National Inter-school Track and Field Championships 2014

The RJTrack family at the National Inter-school Track and Field Championships 2014

Ultimately, the simplicity of a sport at its purest leaves us unable to walk away from its trainings, its hardships and the journey to be your best. And perhaps it is also the reason why any and all newcomers are welcome to a sport that has no prerequisites other than that same desire to put in no less than 100%, to end our seasons with nothing but a sense that we have indeed done our best.

Training Information:

-Sprints

Consists of 100m-800m events, as well as hurdles events. Training are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday/Saturday, 3 times a week with the fourth training optional at RI

-Jumps

Consists of Long Jump, High Jump and Triple Jump. Trainings are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 3 times a week at RI

-Throws

Consists of Javelin, Discus and Shotput. Trainings are on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 3 times a week at RI

-Pole Vault

Trainings are on Monday, Thursday, Saturday, 3 times a week at RI

Walks

Consists of the 3000m & 5000 Walk. Training are on Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, 3 times a week a RI Y5-6 Track/ Macritchie reservoir

Competitions

Minor competitions from January-March, usually for exposure.

National Schools Championships are in early April.

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