To some, cross country runners appear to be insane. We voluntarily get ourselves to train – drenched in sweat, breathing heavily, with our fatigued bodies aching as we force our tired minds to get rid of negativity. One thing’s for certain – cross country is not an easy sport. But it’s supposed to be hard, the hard is what makes it great.
As Haruki Murakami very accurately wrote in his book What I Talk about When I Talk About Running, “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional”. To the cross country runners, running is more than a sport that tests our physical and mental limitations. It is a road to self-awareness and reliance, all while watching the earth spin beneath our feet, relying on just the strength of our feet and the courage of our lungs. And what do we get out of this journey? An immensely rewarding experience with great satisfaction and a team spirit that will follow you wherever you go.
Our team prides itself on the close bonds we share amongst ourselves, our teachers-in-charge, Ms June Tan and Mr Teo Hui Koon, and our coach, Mr Lim Kien Mau. We have a wonderful community of runners who encourage one another every step of the way, and this strong support system drives us to run just that much faster. The cross team is our second family. Apart from spending our training hours together, we bond with our fellow teammates during our outings and bonding activities. Be it a day out in the sun having fun at the beach, or camping in the library to study, we find ourselves in company we enjoy.
We have 3 training sessions a week on Monday, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with an additional self-training (swimming/running) on Thursdays, done at our own timing and pace. People often ask us, “What do you do during your trainings? Do you just run?” To a certain extent, yes. But there is much joy that can be derived from the simple activity of running. The training programme is carefully planned and varied by our coach such that it allows us to hone both speed and endurance, through drills, intervals, and our weekly long runs at Macritchie Reservoir, among many others. The rough, bumpy terrain of Macritchie may seem daunting at first, and the long-tailed macaques along the trail may scare some. But with enough time spent amongst the luscious greenery in the forest, the macaques will become your friends, your feet will know every step of the trail, and you’ll come to appreciate the reservoir for its breathtaking scenery and fresh air.
Trainings are grueling at times but we do it anyway, driven by our desire to excel as a team and to get stronger, together. After all, one of the greatest moments is realizing that perhaps merely two weeks ago, your body couldn’t do what it just did. The strong willpower we have and values instilled in us as runners go beyond our trainings, they extend to academics and all other aspects of our lives. Cross country is not just our CCA, it is our home with family we have grown together with, as runners and as people, and with whom we have created countless fond memories.
If you are ready to embark on this self-disciplining and incredibly fulfilling journey, Raffles Cross Country welcomes you with open arms.