By Selvageethan Nedunchezian (19S06A) and Tan Jian Wei (19S03T), Captains
“Isn’t running boring? Why would you voluntarily sign up to endure so much pain?” Such are the questions that blight the existence of a cross country runner. To most people, if you are a runner, you just run. There doesn’t seem to be a skillset or indeed a particularly strenuous range of motion involved. It’s just moving, but faster. Having been in Cross Country for a while now, we want to set the record straight. Cross country is not a sport. It’s even harder.
“There is magic in misery. Just ask any runner,” Dean Karnazes accurately describes cross country. The nature of Cross Country is such that there are high levels of pain and difficulty involved. We have all heard the old refrains about pushing yourself to the limits. However, to hear it is one thing, to experience it is another. Yes, you will have to push through pain and it will hurt. Pain will be the constant companion throughout training. You break yourself down to build yourself up. But as the days go by, you come to expect it. And slowly, bit by bit, you may even start to like it. Pain stops being a sign of the inferiority of your body and becomes a sign of the superiority of your mind. It is an intensely rewarding experience. You will feel the magic in the midst of misery.
To those who are considering taking on this journey, we’ll give you our honest advice – don’t. Unless, knowing full well the innumerable dedicated hours of sweat and tears under an unforgiving weather, you remain willing to take on the challenge. You will not be the only one undertaking this journey however, instead tagging along with an insane breed of runners, braving and enduring the strenuous journey with you. Training might not be entirely enjoyable at times but we always find solace in the company of like-minded people who will willingly push themselves to the edge. The collective experience of individual pains bonds everyone together, forming a closely-knit group that understands how it feels like to die on the track.
Through the hours of gruelling sessions together, we have forged tight bonds amongst ourselves, and developed close relationships with our teachers-in-charge, Ms June Tan and Mr Teo Hui Koon, as well as our beloved coach, Mr Lim Kien Mau. We have a passionate community of runners who support and encourage one another every step of the way. We all love each other at Cross Country.
We train thrice per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Weekday track sessions is usually in school whereas a long run session on Saturday will be at Macritchie/Bedok Reservoir. A well-structured and comprehensive training plan ensures that everyone is able to excel and achieve their fullest potential.
Cross country is not just about endless running madness under the sweltering hot sun to merely build cardio, but it is also symbolic of life. You have to push yourself to your breaking point to overcome the obstacles, all while doubting your capabilities and having an intrinsic fear of failure. However, eventually you will catch a glimpse of your inner strength and discover that you are actually capable of something much greater. Cross country builds character with the correct attitude and mindset – a passion for long distance running, a will to succeed and rise above the rest and the determination to overcome personal limits. You will learn to lead a healthy and disciplined lifestyle, nurture strong mental willpower to face challenges and develop the right attitude to give nothing short of your best in every endeavours. Raffles Cross Country imparts in its runners the right mentality and core values, essential for success.
Ultimately, what you get out of it is a tremendously fulfilling sporting experience and a close-knitted family not bonded by blood, but through countless hours of hammering down painful grinds on the track together. Cross country is a highly enriching experience and hopefully we’ve convinced you to consider. Only those who have come and experience for themselves first-hand will truly know what it actually feels like to be a Raffles Cross Country runner. Know this, it’s gonna take everything you’ve got. If you think you’ve what it takes, this will be your first step sailing into the uncharted waters. Raffles Cross Country welcomes you with open arms.