Interesting Facts about Cross Country Running

The First Marathon

The name marathon actually comes from the Greek legend of a messenger by the name of Pheidippides. As the story goes, he ran from a battlefield in Marathon to Athens, roughly 26 miles away, to inform them of the defeat of the Persians. He also died immediately after due to exhaustion.

In honor of the hero, they later named the long footrace after Marathon, the location of the battle. This is also where the race would start for the next unofficial ancient Olympic games.

 Origins of Cross Country

Cross country as a sport itself wasn’t really a formal event until the mid 1800’s, where English schools competed in the game, “hare and hounds.”

The footrace was pretty similar to today. Long race with hills, turns, sand, earth and sometimes water.

It later became a national event on December 7, 1867, when the first national championship was held in Wimbledon. Many runners got lost, however, as the terrain was not well marked and is was dark out.

Longest Runs

Of course, cross country typically only goes for as long as 5-10 km.

There are runners who take this to the extreme. The longest distance ever ran by a single person in one day is 303.5 kilometers, a record currently held by Yiannis Kouros. The female world record is 252.2 kilometers, held by Mami Kudo.

Skeletal Health

Bones can greatly benefit from ritual running.

The University of Michigan found that those who ran 12-20 minutes a week had higher bone mineral density than those who did not run.

Fastest Runs in High School

High Schoolers can be really, really good. I’ve seen it myself!

The fastest 5k ever ran by a high school student was in 2008 when a Senior named Chris Derrick from an Illinois High School ran an unbelievable 13:55.96!

For girls, the fastest 5k was held by Katelyn Tuohy, a Sophomore from North Rockland High School with an amazing time of 15:37.12!

Perfect Score

The scoring system in cross country is weird.

It is determined by the place of all of your runners. A perfect score means the top five runners in the race were all from your team.

The only college to ever receive a perfect score was Adam’s State at the Colorado Classic meet on September 15, 2007.

Oldest Marathon Runner

The oldest person to ever run a marathon was a 100 year old man from India, Fauja Singh.

Youngest Marathon Runner

The youngest person to run a marathon is Budhia Singh, known for his many marathons ran as a 5 year old.

Olympic Cross Country

Cross country was rather short lived in the Olympics.

It was added to the official event list as a mens only footrace. Added in 1912, it was later removed in 1924 when extreme heat caused most runners to drop out.

Yes, It is a Sport

Even I once thought it wasn’t a sport. Just because you don’t throw a ball, does not mean it is not a sport.

It takes everything you have physically and mentally to be able to run these absurd distances.

Think about that next time you forget to consider cross country a sport.

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The Rich (and Secret) History of Cross-Country Running

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Interesting Facts about Cross Country Running

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