Cross country running and autumn go together hand in thin knit glove: colorfully dressed thinclads dashing up winding hills amidst a blaze of changing leaves, splattered and muddy racing spikes, cold hands and pink cheeks, cheering teammates, friends and parents. Yet every harrier knows the real truth: cross country is a summer sport. It’s on the hot and sunny June, July and August days when the runner’s work gets done. To train consistently in the summer means success is there for the taking in the autumn months. Steamy summer miles = crisp autumn speed, strength and endurance.
Our summer high school cross country camps have attracted fast, ambitious, talented and dedicated teens from all over the country. Each of these last few summers, a cadre of strong, tough, gritty and speedy Vermont girls has shown me how willing they are to work in the summer for autumn results. Recently I perused the 2015 Burlington Invitational results from 12 September. Lots of familiar names leapt out at me, particularly in the Varsity Girls results: Rena Swartz, Avery Ellis, Anneka Williams, Annemarie Martell, Charlotte Boyden, Myla Jacobs and Marika Massey-Bierman. Seven Craftsbury campers in the top twenty, plus many more throughout the pack! Each of these girls has bent to the tasks my staff and I have asked of them at running camp, several of them attending many times over. They have shown me again and again their grit, resilience and drive and here they were dominating at the Burlington Invite.
As it happens, seven runners comprise a cross country team with five of them scoring. If the top seven Craftsbury attendees in the varsity girls race had scored as their own team (Rena, Avery, Anneka, Annemarie, Charlotte, Myla and Marika), the first five would have accumulated 34 points, enough for the team win. If we took away Annemarie and Charlotte as the 4th and 5th scorers and had relied on Myla and Marika, the team’s score would have been 43 points. Again, enough for the team win. The winning team at this meet scored 61 points with the second place team scoring 65. Pretty cool, and a testament both to the girls attending this camp and how they pushed themselves this summer. Strong work runners, and best of luck the rest of the fall season!
(Do you or a runner you know want to get faster? Keep watching for our 2016 High School Camps, and come up to join the fun!)
Craftsbury’s Fast Seven: