Cross Country


I think cross country should be way up there on the list! This sport requires everything from speed to endurance to muscle! This is a sport with no timeouts, no halftimes, no sidelines, and no water breaks. If you say a gymnast workout is hard, then you have no idea how a day of xc practice is. With a coach who wants to win state, not only do we run 4-5 miles a day, but we also have to run sprints, 400, 800, 1000, and mile repeats through mud and sharp gravel and over a hills under a certain time! If you don't make the times, your crosscountry season is over. All that hard work is gone 'til next year!

And when it's race day, and it's 7:00am with a temperate or 47 degrees Fahrenheit, and the gun fires; all you think about is finishing first. You take off that first 100m trying not to sprint and when you get past the mile marker, you start to feel that tingle in your legs. You running faster and faster and once you get to the two mile marker, your breathing is getting harder. The ...more

Oh please. Do you wake up at five in the morning and go to cheer practice? Even the horses are asleep by then! How far is an easy run for you? Because for us, it's three miles. We don't stop. Ever. We push through the pain, the blood, the sweat. We don't have a routine to practice. You think running is easy? If your stride is messed up, you pull and fracture must led and bones, you need knee replacements. If you're under-prepared for a race, you won't make it. You have to train all year round. This isn't about scheduled practices, it's about getting up early before school by yourself, and pushing yourself to do better, to strive for a better time. Your routine is two minutes? Two minutes can make a huge change. Two minutes of hard work doesn't compare to 45. We push. We give it our all. You can't go home and eat all the junk food you want. You have to eat healthy and keep your body clean. There's no break. No bench, no stop. You can't have water while you practice. You throw up, the ...more

Lungs burning, legs on fire, arms numb, footsteps approaching. A pack of girls is right on my shoulder, and even my best efforts can't seem to shake them. I hurtle uncontrollably down one hill- I'm losing my meager lead- and eye the next slope towering above us. Now I'm on the hill. Exhausted, I can only stare ahead blankly in front of me. Keep going, keep going. I've finally made it to the top, and I'm dead tired. A checkpoint is approaching- I've been running for more than 12 minutes. Just a little more, just a little more. There's about a mile remaining in the race. I hear my competitors around me. One girl passes me, then another. I speed up, fighting my way toward the pack. Whatever I have left, I must give in these final pained moments. I barely register the shouts of the spectators. Keep running, keep running...

Cross country is one of the most underrated sports. It is the epitome of an endurance sport. It requires an incredible amount of mental toughness. Unlike many of ...more

This is the best description I've ever heard. You put all my thoughts into words. Amazing!

This is honestly the HARDEST and most physically and mentally demanding sport that you can do. Imagine getting up at 5 AM every morning to run MILE AFTER MILE with your team without stopping or taking any breaks, even if you need to throw up. Imagine having burning in your legs and numbness in your feet while your heart is racing and your lungs are screaming out for mercy. The worst part of it is, there is no stopping because you will regret it so much after the race and sometimes it feels like it isn't even worth it during the race but you need to convince yourself that it is. The pain is so bad and so REAL that you could just break down and start weeping. But the rewarding feeling you get after you put in all of that work and go through all of that excruciating pain is also REAL. There is nothing like finishing a race and catching your breath and relaxing and knowing that you just completed the Improbable. It is an amazing feeling and it adds to your character and I your mental ...more

Cross Country, for me, is one of the toughest, mentally and physically, sports that I have done, but it's also very fun. I was forced to do the sport by my parents and I thought that I would absolutely hate it, but I ended up loving it and I love running in general because of XC. I'm an upcoming junior in high school and XC is physically exhausting because you are running NON-STOP with little to no breaks and you're in pain all the time. I HATE when people say that you aren't an athlete just because you run and you just think " I can probably beat your ass in a 5K". It's also mentally hard because every day you have to tell yourself "ok, I can run faster than the person in front of me" while your body is in total pain and your mind tells you to slow down but you can't, because if you do, you'll slow down and regret it forever. XC is also a team sport, that's what most people don't realize. My freshman year of high school, I told my coach that this team is a ...more

I don't know why everyone is bashing other sports? Why even compare your sport to others? It is what it is. All I know is that cross country is hard. Like deathly hard. There have been times during a race that I've actually wished my leg would break so I could stop. I have honesty never went through as much pain as what I have during races. It's a god awful pain that you wouldn't understand unless you went through it. There is no way to explain that distinct pain you start to feel after mile one. It gets exponentially worse and you've still got multiple miles left. Like I said, I'm not going to compare cross country to other sports because I haven't done them. But I can say, without a doubt, that cross country is as hard as it gets. It literally requires your 100%. Most people don't grasp the meaning of 100%. That is it. Every drop of energy you have to give. You CANNOT exceed 100%. It is impossible. If you have 10 marbles in a bag you can't take 11 out of the bag. 10 marbles is all ...more

Cross country is extremely underrated. I've only been running for two years but I've gone through more than enough conditioning and ran plenty of miles in the blazing heat/freezing cold to know its very physically demanding. 3.1 miles are no joke! In addition to that, running at race pace requires you to have top notch mental toughness! I've also wrestled for 7 years so I can say cross country (in some aspects) is much more physically demanding. One aspect being the fact that in wrestling you give it your best for three two minute periods and you get a bit of time between periods to kind of recover or rest while in cross country you have ZERO time to rest. Your rest period is when you finish sprinting the last 175 meter stretch of a race along with three damn miles of hills, turns, and (usually) that damn heat! Wrestling has its worse moments as well. You walk out on that mat and fight some guy you most likely aren't very good friends with. I've had more injuries from wrestling than I ...more

Cross Country is, in my opinion, the hardest and most physically and mentally demanding sport ever created. It is without a doubt the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, the most challenging, the most painful, the most excruciating experience I have ever encountered. Why do I do it, you may ask? That is why I do it. I've been doing this for so long that I actually enjoy all of the pain and exhaustion. I love to run, and running has become a part of me that will never change. Anyone who thinks this is not a sport, or that any average joe could do what we do, you could not be any more wrong. It takes months upon months to properly prepare for a good cross country season, not to mention the tremendous dedication and effort it takes, as well as the mental conditioning that it takes to run until you feel like your legs are just about to snap and your eyes feel like they are going to pop out of your head. Only a runner can know that pain, and only a runner can manage to push through ...more

I am a runner on an XC team. So I understand this sport unlike the average person. Lets face it, Cross Country isn't always the most recognized and popular sport, but I can tell you one thing for sure: It is for sure the most difficult sport out there. If anyone had the choice of watching a basketball game and an intense cross country race; I would guess that about 95% of people would pick the basketball game. Look at the #1 in this debate, you will find gymnastics. The reason I think gymnastics is way at the top is simply because it is way more popular than XC. Lets pretend a mom asks her 5 year old daughter, "Suzy, there are two sports activities at the park that you can take this summer: cross country and gymnastics" Naturally the girl will respond and say that she would definitely choose gymnastics over XC. Everyone would expect that response. You see the title of this argument is called "The Top Ten Hardest Sports". Sure every sport listed here is difficult ...more

I swam for 10 years and have been a runner for 4 years and I can honestly say running is harder. I'd say swimming you have to spend more hours at practices and yes they are exhausting, but with running you are literally in pain basically all the time. It is also extremely mentally taxing to go out and run a 10-14 mile long run and then get up the next day for an hour long hill workout. And the thing with cross country is that you barely ever get rest. Also the races put you in excruciating pain, like no other pain I've ever been in.

Cross country is by far the hardest sport. The runner runs as fast as they can for over 3 miles. There's no bench, no water, no padding, just the runner, hills, mud, blood and PAIN EVERYWHERE. I wish everyone could run one, just one XC race and see how they feel after that.

What really annoys me is when people say "All cross country is it's just running." I hate it when they say it's not a sport. Oh, and they're not called games, matches, events, a duel, it's called a "meet".

No no. 95% of it is mental will power with so many physical requirements. People keep saying that running sports and cross country is a crappy sport, but believe me, you can only say anything about the sport until you properly experience it. In cross country it's choice if you want to stop and walk. If you do, you're a quitter. and that is that.

All of the shin splints, the cramps, bloody noses (you'd be surprised), the falls, sprains, pulling and tearing muscles and tendons, constantly drinking and eating, icing, heating, bath salts, etc. This is a game about stamina and survival. This is a sport that requires something stronger than physical strength: the urge to keep going. These workout consist of ab and core workouts, lifting, yoga, posture, ...more

Ah, the classic argument. "Cross Country is easy! " they say. "Anyone can run! " they say. So when it comes to the mile in gym class, us runners must admit that we take pleasure in watching our insulters drop like flies after the first 400.

"Distance is easy," they say as they complain about the 5 sprints they had to run (for punishment) at football practice.
"You don't need to be in shape to run," they claim as they come off the soccer field for a water break ten minutes into the game.
"Anyone could do, like, cross country! " exclaim the cheerleaders as they flail their arms and yell.

Let me put our lives as XC runners into perspective for you:
Take the gym mile. Multiply it by 3. Add.1. Throw in a few hills. Make that HUGE hills. With their own names. Toss a little mud, rain, dirt, sweat, blood, and the occasional puke into the mix. Don't forget to stab yourself with a spike. 105 heat index or -15 ...more

Cross country requires is the hardest sport. When you're tired, you can't stop for a minute and catch your breath, you just have to suck it up and tell yourself to run harder. I have never been in as much pain as when I am running the giant hill at my home course, thighs screaming with pain. There are no time outs, no water breaks, and no substitutions. You decide how well you do, and if you screw up, it's all on you. You may not break bones or get concussions a lot, but to be honest sometimes while I'm running I would gladly agree to have a concussion if it meant I could stop. The fact that we don't get injured easily only makes it more difficult and taxing. People who say that it is just as hard to do other sports don't know what they're talking about, and I would recommend going to one hard cross country practice before he or she opens his mouth again.

As the Cross Country saying goes "Our sport is a form of punishment in your sport." In an XC race, there are no timeouts, no half times, no substitutions. There is no hiding from your individual time. While XC has an ancient and simplistic elegance to it, there is also its brutal objectivity. A typical high school harrier in a competitive program will put in approximately 2,000 miles of running from May to November in preparation for the championship races at seasons end that cumulatively last less than an hour. It extremely rare for a high school athlete to get cut from the Cross Country team. Instead they cut themselves because of the combination of physical and mental demands. XC is simply hard, and only distance swimming presents a high schoolers with comparable physical and mental challenges. But XC has a huge economic advantage -- any high school can afford a cross country team, while pool time can be expensive.

The biggest and strongest people in the world cannot do what the guys who run cross country can do. In gym no one complains about anything more then the mile and cross country goes further and faster then people in the GYM mile do. It has been discovered that no sport is as physically demanding as cross country and people here think other sports are harder? People in cross country get up at 5 to go and race and when it's state the temperature is around 50 if they are lucky. Cross country is all around the hardest sport physically because it requires more endurance then any other... They have no time outs... And is more then just running the mental part is a lot of the battle too. No other athlete could do what a cross country runner does on a daily basis. Just a little fun fact the fastest marathon (26.2 miles) in recorded history on an eligible course is 2:03:55 two hours of straight running at a pace most people could not even hold for one mile.

Cross Country is one of most demanding and taxing sports there is, everyday your body is in pain from the previous day and you must fight off the urge to stop and walk during the long runs, hill repeats, and 2 mile repeats. Imagine having to run in 103 degree weather in the hot blazing run for hours a day, with no water breaks, no rests. You literally have to push your body to the limit and break it, in order to rebuild it and get stronger. I believe it is one of the most hardest sports there is, because in races, you are arguably just beating yourself, your own mind, you must keep pushing yourself in order to win, it is not a direct sport in which you play against another player, but a sport in which you are competing against yourself. Even if you are to face the most easiest team ever, you still run untill you are about to collapse and puke. Cross country runners are the most determined people ever. I have seen runners collapse, broken legs and arms, fell down hills, but still get ...more

When you run for 3.1 miles, and feel great when you run a few seconds faster than last time, you know it's hard. People don't think it's a sport, they run an 8 minute mile. I'm in high school and I know that our practices are harder and longer than every other sport we have. Everybody can run, in fact, people have been running for most of their lives. Runners, real ones, have to race the people who have beaten everybody else, because everybody else can run. I've run plenty, I finished my first ultra marathon a month ago, nobody can call running easy until they try to run even 2 miles, against people who want the win just as much as you who practice just as much. It's also a huge mental sport, once you've run as hard as you can as long as you can while thinking exactly how fast you should run the next quarter mile because there's a small hill soon and you know you have a mile to go after that, then you can form opinions.

Define the word hard. Cross country is more than hard because of the dedication and strength it takes to survive the practices and races. Please, everyone think again and realize that your sports is our warm up. Cross country is an endurance sport that not everyone can endure. My freshman year in high school cross country we started out 100+ runners. By the end of the season we lost about 1/3 of our runners due to "injuries" and those who aren't able to run. Believe me, I've done many sports and nothing takes as much hard work as cross country. Our races are 3.1 miles and if you stop or even just walk you are seen as weak. We don't get any breaks half way through, no we either quit the race or finish strong. Please, everyone who thinks they can prove me wrong run with a cross country team for a week. Let's see how long you can stay with them. Then run one race with xc runners, one real race with hills and trails that seem as if there is no end. Reach the end of the finish ...more

Cross Country is more than a sport. It is blisters and ugly runner feet. It is for hitting the wall in the practice and thinking you can not do another repeat- and then doing it. It's jelly legs and cramps. It's having an instantly better day because of a run. It is shin splints, sore muscles and pain that shows how hard you work. It's knowing your limits and pushing them. It is enduring speed workouts and ice baths. In every race you think, 'why do I do this to myself? ' Then you finish and can't wait until the next time you race and can show all your hard work.

I believe cross country is the hardest sport out there, it's super demanding and makes you work till you can't breathe or swallow water. I'm quite disappointed that cross country is not higher on the list, I mean there is a reason why people that do cross country practically inhale their food but maintain to stay the skinniest people in school. We work hard even when you say what we do isn't a sport. We run till we have completed our goal. We run until we can't breathe and are soaked in sweat, other people sweat, and on the grass, can't swallow water, and can't breathe. All my friends say Dance is harder than cross-country, but you can't criticize a sport you've never done. Neither of them have done cross country,but I've done both cross country and dance and I can say is really easy. Yea I get it you have to dance till your toes bleed and be super flexible. You'll never understand what it's like to do it until you try it, so don't go around saying everyone can run in cross country, ...more

Look, I've played a lot of sports in my life (soccer, gymnastics, softball, ski jumping, etc) but none, with the exception of nordic skiing, comes close to the difficulty of cross country running. I understand that for each sport, athletes give their 100% at every practice. But cross country is different in that during races, you push yourself as hard as you possibly can without dying. The whole point of a cross country competition is to see just how fast your body can move. People don't understand how hard cross country is until they run at a competitive level (no, middle school running club doesn't count) because once you do, you not only have to destroy your body, but also build a crazy pain tolerance. Endurance sports are no joke. Cycling, swimming, middle-long distance track, speed skating, and nordic skiing all deserve mad respect.

I don't understand why cross country is not in AT LEAST the Top 5. I've been a runner for as long as I can remember, and there is NO word to describe the pain any competitive runner has gone through. I have spent years running, always trying to beat my time. It's mentally exhausting to go to practices, sometimes even 4-a-day practices in my case, and do nothing but try to improve your form, time, and speed. I'm not saying that sports like soccer and swimming aren't difficult, because they definitely are. Running is just an underrated sport, and everyone thinks "Oh, it's so easy! Anyone can run! " I love seeing all those people eat their words when they die running a single mile. Us dedicated runners put in so much blood, sweat, and tears, but we are forgotten because of sports like football and baseball. I go to training just to watch the 'professional' baseball kids die when I pass them in sprints and long distance. Anyone who says that cross country 'is just running' is completely ...more - lexiet0608

Why Cross Country is not first befuddles me. If you take XC, you can agree that is EASILY the most painful, endurance testing, physically taxing sport there is. During practice, you push yourself; you want to get better, don't you? Well, try pushing yourself to the max for 6 miles. During the meets, you literally feel like you will die after about halfway through. But you keep going anyways, because you see the light ahead. Every single part of your body hurts; it feels like you are being constantly stabbed EVERYWHERE. Not only does it require immense physical prowess, but also the mental capability to keep pushing yourself to the finish. I mean, come on, you literally throw up if you sit down after a race! And, if you're not good enough, say goodbye to your place on the team; better prepare for next year! If all this still hasn't convinced, if you play football or basketball, imagine having to do your runs for hours, at a faster clip. That is what XC is, essentially.

I was a gymnast throughout my childhood and through high school and part of college. After I finished school, I became a long distance runner. I have completed I don't know how many 5k's, at least a few dozen 10k's, 6 half marathons and 4 marathons. I have also done a few tough mudders, one Spartan run and 2 Iron Man competitions. By no means am I a competitive front runner but I have completed them. I'll be honest the only thing that has ever really hurt me is the swimming portions in the Iron Man's. I understand the rest between events in gymnastics does not compare to the long, stead endurance required for long distance running but the body control, strength, short term but high impact endurance, and high mental stress required to compete in gymnastics is incomparable. I will be happy to go run a 100 miles with anyone. I ask that you attempt 1 giant on highbar, try 1 suke of vault, attempt swings on pommel horse, try just to hold yourself up on the rings, attempt swings on parallel ...more