There is always that smell in the air right before the gun fires at a cross country meet. Its a mix is a mix but it is dominated by the scent of the freshly cut grass. You can sense the tension in runners, the nervousness that twists their guts. But we special few who know what they are about to endure can pat them on the back and promise them its worth every step to the finish line. Others though have no clue. What these others I think don't realize, as they lean over and scream for you to surge over the hill, is that its really sucks to surge up hills. Or that it hurts like nothing else to kick it in that last half mile, or to just get one more guy. They don't realize what they ask of us poor runners, but the amazing thing is, we listen. When running cross country you experience a sense of freeness, a feeling that nothing can hold you back and that each hill is just a minor thing in your way of conquering another course. I believe that cross country is the most mentally challenging sport out there. Along with the physical requirements, but the sad thing is, no matter how hard you train, or how much you run, that feeling in your legs down the homestretch is going to hurt. Just like it has and always will. Thats why any one daring enough to take this sport on is a man in my book.
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Photos by Doug Wells