One mile at a time

Cross country runners and coaches work to push each other all season long



Cross country runners Rayaan Ahmed and Joe Hissem push toward the finish line during a meet at Veteran Acres in Crystal Lake, IL on September 4.

Lydia Lawrence, Staff Writer

Briggette Galindo Vargas is three quarters finished with her run on a trail during the Fox Valley Conference Championship in McHenry Township Park on October 16. The wind tangles her hair as she reaches closer to the destination. Choppy breaths and feet trekking the ground fill the silence that’s heavy on the course as the runner looks around at others who are in the vicinity to see how they’re doing. 

The coaches have done a great job of keeping their athletes motivated and pushing them to work harder everyday.  With the runners hard work and support they’ve receive they were able to take both teams to sectionals. The girls cross country team was able to make it to state with Danielle Jensen running for MCHS. 

“I love to be a part of the moment when an athlete achieves something they didn’t think was possible,” states cross country coach Kevin Horst.  

Both the athletes and coaches understand how important it is to stay inspired by one another, and the importance of building relationships with teammates and coaches. This sport has its share of challenges, both physically and mentally, and building these relationships can help runners know that they have support no matter what the outcome is.

“Distance runners are asked to do a lot of difficult training and grueling races,” mentions Horst, “To really be ‘all in’, they have to first know that the coach cares about them on a personal level.”

Not only the coaches enjoy the aspect of hard work paying off, the athletes do as well. 

Galindo Vargas ran a lifetime PR on October 16. Her new time, 25:22 was 2:26 minutes faster compared to her last record, 27:48 minutes. “When I realized I had beaten my time by that much, I was very proud of myself,” described Briggette Galindo Vargas, a junior cross country runner, “My hard work had paid off and I knew that if I was capable of doing that, I was capable of more.” 

Competition can also be a big motivator for athletes to score better than the other people that are there. “When you pass people that really motivates you to do better and to run faster,” explained Rayaan Ahmed, a junior cross country runner, “When you see your teammate in front of you, you’re like … I gotta go and catch them.”

Just as Galindo Vargas’s motivation begins to diminish, the end of the course is in sight! She begins to pick up her pace, pushing through the burning sensation in her legs as she focuses only on reaching the finish. As she gets to the end, the athlete is greeted with the fact that she made her new best time.