As a cross country runner, I know what it is like to run a long distance in the heat. I know the feeling a runner gets when you see a ton of people near the one-mile mark, two-mile mark, and finish line. The excitement and adrenaline it creates motivates me to run faster. Unfortunately, at my cross country races, runners do not really see all those people at the one-mile mark, two-mile mark, and finish line. A reason why some people run faster at races is that people are cheering them on. I am on the cross country team, and I have been on a cross country team for the last seven years. Although I love the thrill and excitement of races, one thing that disappoints me is the fact that there are never any students or teachers there to support us. More teachers and students should go to the cross country meets because we spend over twenty minutes in the heat, running until it is hard to breathe, and we feel like we are going to collapse- which sometimes we do. A few fans would make this race a little less painful since we have people cheering us on. It is hard to run a race in the heat, but when we see a friend, student, or teacher cheering for us on the course, we are motivated to run well and it pushes us. It is understandable that some races are hard to attend because they are far away, but there are several races in City Park, which is very close to school. Some big races, like District, are even at City Park right after school, so it is easy for people to go support our team. Students give many excuses for not going to the meets. It is too early. It is too hot. They are too busy. A major excuse why people do not go to the races is that they are early in the morning. Although this is true, one usually does not have anything planned that early in the morning, so what else is there to do on a Saturday morning but come out to the course! Since it is early in the morning, one does not have to worry about doing homework either, since it is not on a school night. Another excuse is that it is a long and hot event. This is also true but a little while in the heat will make the runners so happy. Although it does not seem like a big deal, people at the races would make a difference for runners at the meet.
The solution to the problem of a low turnout at cross country meets is to entice students by giving out sweets at the races! If you come to the race, a table of free sweets will be near the cross country tent. Treats may include cookies, brownies, donuts, scones, juice, and coffee. All of this would be free and sponsored by the cross country team. Other small incentives could be dress down days and spirit points. Having things like spirit points, dress down days, and a sweets table would make the students and teachers want to come out and support us because they get something in return. And who does not like free sweets and coffee? Incentives like these may entice friends to support their school, and may even spark interest in running!
If participation at the races is worth spirit points, dress down days, and sweet treats, there will definitely be more students and teachers at the meets. These people will create school spirit, make the team more excited and will motivate the runners. They might even have fun! We runners will also feel appreciated that students and teachers took time out of their day to go to our race. Even if friends just stay for one race, it is better than nothing! It would be great if more people start going to races because there are always so many people cheering on the volleyball team, soccer team, and basketball team, too. Cross country is also an important sport that more people should be supporting. If students and teachers go to cross country races, they will start their day off right, supporting their cubs. Although cross country is sometimes forgotten, I think this should change because the cross country team works so hard and we want people to show their support at the races!