This article is part of the CCA Previews for 2016.
By Tan Chong Qi (16S03P) and Faye Chiang (16S06B), Captains
Cross is love, Cross is life. Quoting one of our treasured members, Tan Chong Qi (16S03P), “Running is like taking a dump: when you’re in the middle of doing it, it can get really painful but once it’s over, whoa shiok.” Our honest word of advice to anyone out there even thinking about venturing here – don’t. Unless, of course, you are prepared to endure and persevere through numerous trials of your physical and mental strength. Many brave souls have come and conquered; though the journey is undoubtedly an arduous one, it can be immensely rewarding.
Each week typically consists of 3 training sessions: Monday, Wednesday and Friday/ Saturday, with the added bonus of a self-training easy session done at your own time and pace over the weekend. 2 track sessions and 1 long run per week ensure runners are exposed to a variety of training programs, ensuring the mundane activity of running is as exciting as it can get. Long runs are usually held at Macritchie Reservoir, a mere 10min jog away from the school. This place continues to remain memorable to many runners, years after they have graduated. Runners will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of the reservoir, as well as close interaction with the many long-tailed macaques that populate the trails. Long runs hardly come easy for anyone, but surviving the forests and running out like a courageous warrior back from war brings great satisfaction to many. After all, distance can only make the heart grow stronger.
If the trainings are not enough to get you more hyped up about your running, the people definitely will. One of the most boisterous bunches you might ever meet; the cross country family is welcoming and encouraging. There is never a dull moment when you’re around this lovely, supportive group of student-athletes. A typical day training will not just burn the calories many of us so hate, it’ll also light up and brighten your day as you interact with the maestros of cardio training in Raffles Institution.
Interactions are not just limited to training time – outings and bonding sessions provide opportunities for intra and inter-batch bonding. Not forgetting of course, getting to know our ever supportive teachers-in-charge, Ms June Tan and Mr Teo Hui Koon, and coach, Mr Joe Goh, better. The support seniors are able to provide for juniors, and vice versa, is evident through the amount of time spent together in the library studying for assessments (e.g. Common Tests), and this continues to put the “student” in us as student-athletes.
While many continue to hold the belief think that Cross Country is all about endless running and cardio and more cardio (this is undeniably true to some extent), the priceless takeaways one can get from joining this team justify the many hours spent dedicating oneself to the sport. With the right attitude – enthusiasm for learning, determination to go beyond one’s limits, a will to succeed and sportsmanship – one can definitely go far (and by this, we do not just mean physically). Not only will you be influenced to lead a more disciplined and healthy lifestyle, you will also be better prepared to face life’s adversities. The greater willpower, desire to complete tasks with all you have got and to persevere through challenges, coupled with core values instilled into our runners, is what truly defines a Raffles Cross Country Runner.
Alas, a day spent walking (running) in the shoes of a Raffles crosser can only tell you so much. Only those who have been here, and done that, can fully understand.