Teamwork, mental health, body image and friends: The “why” behind cross country

Dixie High Cross Country members reveal their reasons for joining the team.


Dixie High Cross Country team.

The Dixie High Cross Country team compete in a race during their season. Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Herron
Members of the Dixie High Cross Country Team. Photo courtesy of Jeremiah Herron

Though Cross Country has been around for over a hundred years, many still ask the question, “why run THAT much?”

To lay this question to rest, a few students on the Dixie High Cross Country team are providing an inside look to the Flyer Flash, revealing what’s most difficult about it, and what ultimately makes the sport worth it. 

When it comes to distance running, endurance seems to be the biggest challenge.

Reed Bigham, a junior Cross Country member, said runners have to “keep on going — that’s the hard part!” but that endurance gets even harder when there’s no one around to motivate you. 

“There are parts with no coaches or spectators,” Cami Weight, a senior runner, said, “And you can only rely on yourself to keep going.”

However, though Cross Country is mentally demanding and can seem stressful, Ruby Ludlow, another senior, describes it as “the best thing for my mental health … it is a celebration of what my body can do rather than what it looks like.”

Bigham feels the same: It’s “kind of like meditation,” he said. “When you run alone, you get to … think about everything that’s going on in your life.”

Other runners agree, explaining how running allows them personal time to think and feel peace. 

But what else keeps these kids running back, day after day? What, at the end of the day, makes that much running worth the effort?

The answer appears to be simply the community.

They are “the most positive and supportive people ever,” Evan Wells, another member, said.

Bigham described his teammates as “kind of weird,” and “kind of strange,” but also “really kind, and … good people to be with.” 

As Weight said about the team, “You’ve never played UNO until you’ve played on a bus on the freeway with no table and the windows down.” 

Additionally, a great group of people is bound to have great team experiences, they said.

The runners are a tight-knit group who love talking with each other and Reed said that running three to four miles every day tends to spark pretty philosophical conversations.

Long-distance running might not be for everyone, but looking at the Dixie High Cross Country team, no one seems to feel excluded. So, when it comes to the question of why these kids run all that much, the answer turns out to be simple — they do it for the people they run alongside.