Cross Country finds new ways to train in quarantine

Bonita+Vista+High%27s+Cross+Country+team+meets+at+the+Ian+Cumming+Invitational+on+Sep.+8%2C+2019+for+a+5K+race.

Provided by Cross Country team member and junior Max Anderson

Bonita Vista High’s Cross Country team meets at the Ian Cumming Invitational on Sep. 8, 2019 for a 5K race.

Nadia Martinez, Podcast Manager

Since Bonita Vista High (BVH) went into quarantine on March 13, many extracurriculars have been put on pause. This is especially true for sports, which normally require in person interaction. Many BVH sports have stopped completely, but others, such as Cross Country, have found new ways to adapt to a time where large gatherings are restricted. 

During the pandemic, the team looked for ways to train during their off-season despite the current circumstances. However, like any other sport, Cross Country faced disappointment and frustration when social distancing measures were announced. 

“It was a pretty big let down,” Cross Country member and junior Max Anderson said. “A lot of people just gave up on training at first because they were really distraught about losing their entire track season.” 

For many Cross Country members like Anderson, they were early into their Track and Field season and had competed in only one meet when the Spring seasons were postponed and later canceled because of new restrictions. Due to this, many team members stopped running altogether.

BVH’s Cross Country team competes at the Mt. Carmel Invitational on Sep. 21, 2019. Members participated in a 2.95 mile race that took place in Morley field at Balboa Park. (Provided by Cross Country team member and junior Max Anderson)

“Everything just kept getting canceled; eventually, after a month and a few weeks, people started to pick it up and catch on like, ‘okay, [it’s] time to do something,’” Anderson said.

This lack of physical interaction didn’t stop team members from communicating during these eight months indoors. Team members communicated through a group chat as well with their coach through email. According to Cross Country member and junior Pierce Manson, this kept the social aspect of the team alive.

“I send training plans and any updates we receive from the school or district to everyone through a team email,” Cross Country Boy’s and Girl’s coach Dan Kettlehake said. “As soon as the Fall seasons were postponed, I had to update their training plan to reflect the new start of the season, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 14.” 

This communication through email, social media and group chats fostered a plan to gather a small group of team members who were willing to train during this off-season. Since they cannot officially meet as a team, these small group runs are organized solely by a few team members, such as Manson and Anderson who want to continue training. These runners take a long route at a steady pace to avoid over-exhausting their bodies and build up their endurance. 

“It’s a small group of five to six [people] meeting up for a run. We’ll meet up Saturday and go to Mission Beach at five or six [a.m.],” Manson said.

In spite of this plan, there have been challenges. For instance, runners are unable to officially organize team runs for safety reasons. Even when there is a small group of runners, it has to be under 10 people at a time together. Anderson expresses that this is the best that they can do for now with the restrictions.

“I think it’s really important to run in a small group together,” Anderson said. “Obviously, this isn’t ideal, [but] we have to stay safe within the guidelines.”

For now, there is no way to know whether all the team members are continuing to train during this off-season, though both Manson and Anderson encourage their fellow members to train whenever possible.

“A driving force for a lot of [students] to participate in [Cross Country] is the social aspect. If you took that away entirely, then it just wouldn’t be worth it to participate at all,” Manson said. 

A driving force for a lot of [students] to participate in [Cross Country] is the social aspect. If you took that away entirely, then it just wouldn’t be worth it to participate at all.”

— Junior Pierce Anderson

As the team members continue to run in small groups, Kettlehake reminds them that they shouldn’t overtire themselves and keep up a slow and steady pace with their training. 

“The runners need to focus on their academics as well as their physical and mental health,” Kettlehake said. “From a training standpoint, they need to put in the work now to build a strong foundation so when we do return, they are healthy and ready to resume more rigorous training.”

For both Manson and Anderson, Cross Country is a way to foster their love for both running and socializing, even if on a small scale. They have expressed their determination to continue to train whether or not they will have a season this year and emphasize the importance of continuing to do what students love even under these restricted times. 

“We need to keep in mind that eventually there will be a season even if there isn’t one this year,” Anderson said. “One day everything will pay off.”