As a new runner, it can seem incredibly hard to join the world of running. Though the sport is loved by so many, it is also misunderstood by so many more. Why would people put themselves through pain everyday? When asked about the common misconceptions about running, Jonathan Waldron (JWal), a coach of both Concord Academy’s cross-country (XC) and the track and field teams, said that “[A common misconception around running is] that it is painful. It is not painful, although it is uncomfortable.” This uncomfort is unavoidable and is a crucial part of running. It presents challenges to us, and you will find that the more you run, the further you can push yourself. As long as you push through that discomfort, you will achieve the satisfaction of running. JWal stated, “My favorite part about running is that I learn something about myself everytime I run.” 

The best part about running is how accessible it is. All you need to do is put on some shoes and go. Though it is hard to understand the people who seek this discomfort, there is so much more to running than just hardship, especially in CA XC. Alum Grace Chen ’23 explains, “My absolute favorite part of the CA XC team is just the warmth that radiates throughout it! From our beloved coaches, to incredible upperclassmen to look up to, and to the funnest experiences with teammates.” Along with running, our team does so much with each other, from eating food together on Fridays after practice, to stretching with each other and talking while on runs. Andrii Vedmid ’26 shares that as a new cross-country runner, his favorite part of practices was talking to his teammates during the runs. Joining a sport means creating many new connections and bonds that you may have never otherwise created. Why not pick up a new hobby and make some new friends along the way?

So what should you expect from joining CA XC? Well, you will deal with some hardships. Andrii also said that one of the toughest things for him was his internal battle. “[It was hard] getting out there every day, fighting my own laziness.” Participating in sports gives you a new level of self discipline and serves as a good check for some. For new runners, here is some advice from Grace Chen ’23 (who will be running for Haverford College): “For any new runners, I would just say to have fun with it! Run with friends, run to beautiful places, go swimming after your runs, etc! So many people groan at the thought of going on a run, but if you make it something to really look forward to, it becomes such a fulfilling experience!” But though cross-country is technically a varsity sport, there are no real expectations other than showing up to practices and trying your hardest to improve. The whole team will be there cheering you on. At the end of the day, we are all just trying to better ourselves. 

Running comes with its quirks. Even at an incredibly high level, people still feel uncomfortable when running, but though the discomfort never leaves, it is the growth of our range of discomfort that pushes us to keep trying. The CA cross-country team is a great place to get to know people better and connect you with the CA community. Running and competing with your friends is one of the best feelings in the world.