September 12, 2013

High School Cross Country Preview: Run and fun making them fit

Cross country is a tough sport, so coaches find ways to make it enjoyable for runners.

By Glenn Jordan
Staff Writer

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David Dowling, center, the Greely High cross country coach, smiles easily and often, and has his runners enjoying what they do – as do other coaches.

John Patriquin/Staff Photographer

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"We do team dinners and that stuff," Harmon said, "but as far as the actual running, that's not fun. I'm not insinuating they can't have fun or don't, but you don't see a lot of smiles when they're doing hill repeats."

Instead, Harmon speaks of shared pain and the gratification that comes only through determined effort.

"I like it for the life skills," he said. "You put the hard work in and you can see the results -- see, in one week you took 30 seconds off your time! It's not always that obvious in academics, where you might put the hard work in and still might not get the grade you want."

Falmouth co-coaches Jorma Kurry and Danny Paul share a similar philosophy. They work daily and weekly challenges into workouts. One of the biggest challenges for younger runners is to run all the way from Community Park to Mountain Road and back by the end of the season.

"As they accomplish various things they didn't think they could do before, it becomes something they're proud of," Kurry said.

"It's a self-esteem builder."

No matter the activity, the bottom line is to avoid the loneliness of the long-distance runner.

"The biggest thing," said Dowling of Greely, "is just doing it with other people. You have a bunch of guys or girls going for a run, they start talking about things and that's what makes it an easy run."

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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