Running Is Who I Am

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“You will have two commands, ‘runners set’ and the gun”, these words bounce around in my head and echo inside me taking over my thoughts. I open my eyes, staring down at my 2-year-old waffle shoes, and see the line mocking me and making nervous and uneasy with every passing second. Finally, I look up and see ‘The Gator’, the motorized 4 wheeled cycle looking back at us ready to take off with me and 200 other boys chasing after it for the extent of 5,000 kilometers. After what feels like an eternity of standing there, legs tense, shaking breath, and a twisted stomach; the gun goes off followed by the thundering sound of a herd of stomping feet and cheers from onlookers. I, amongst the stampede, finally look up and have a small smile creep up on my face. Another race has started and I get to be a part of it yet again.

Every weekend between the months of August through November I wake up to the sound of my alarm at 6:00 in the morning and pack my cross-country uniform and grab my waffle shoes, shoes made specifically for running long distances, climb up on our truck and drive to McHi so that I can catch the bus to go to wherever it is our new meet is. As of now, the school year of 2019-2020, I have been running cross country for 5 years almost non-stop and it has transformed from something I used to just do, to something that now makes me who I am.

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When I first began to run it was actually by mistake. I was in 7th grade and was being hazed by the older kids and being told that in order to play the sports I wanted to I had to also run cross-country. Of course, at the time me still being naive, believed them and I showed up to my first of many cross-country practices soon to come. When I got to the practice there was quite literally one other guy there with me apart from the coach. I felt absolutely out of place because, before then, I had never done any sort of sports at all and the coach and the other guy already had a preexisting relationship and it was obvious that the other runner had been running cross-country before. Nonetheless, I stretched as best I could and got ready for what I assumed was a quick run, of course though things are never that easy when it comes to running. My coach told us that we were going to have an easy day and only “...go and run 2 miles” which during that time was more than I could accurately even imagine. So, without much choice left I waited by a rudimentary starting line we had made and got ready to start at my coach’s cue. I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started, but once I took those first few strides I never wanted to stop.

My first time actually running was an unforgettable one. After my coach started us off and I began to pick up speed, I was filled with a feeling I had never had before then. A mix of ecstasy and utter euphoria engulfed me and suddenly nothing else mattered other than me running and not stopping. This new and intense feeling I had made my first run ever feel like it was nothing other than a simple stroll through the park.

Eventually after many long hours and even more miles had passed, the first race of the season rolled around and little did I know how much will power was needed to run cross-country. Though I still placed 17th, the physical toll it took on me was absolutely huge, I finished my first 2-mile race shuddering, drenched in sweat, throwing up, and completely pale. Yet even then I got up the next day ready for another practice of this monstrous sport I have since come to love.

However, not many people can go out and just run cross-country, and even fewer people will willingly put themselves through such a taxing sport. That being said, then why am I able to be amongst the few who are able to do it, and more importantly actively look forward to going out and running anywhere between 5-10 miles every morning at the crack of dawn? I believe that it is the mentality that a person has which include a combination of: dedication, determination, devotion, and most importantly commitment. These are some of the core values that runners and good students like me have to have on a daily basis otherwise they simply stay back with the pack and never move up and succeed and that is what separates me and so many others from everybody else. Our drive and motivation to always be the best regardless of what it is we are doing.

As I mentioned before, it is the mentality of a person that separates them from everyone else, the fact that they are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure that they always come out on top. Though the mind is a fragile thing that most times can’t make itself up, the mind of a runner and an avid student is different because they take hardships and obstacles as fun little puzzles that they can work around and figure out how to better improve themselves. As where on the contrary, many other people just give up at the first sight of a minor inconvenience, and don’t even try to approach the problem, much less solve it. That’s why I believe that I can stand out amongst a crowd of people because I am willing to face anything that anyone can throw at me because I know that even if I am bested, I won’t give up until I either succeed or can no longer physically do it anymore. Because that is the only way to succeed, and the only way we can ever have the life we want; with hard work, dedication, and an unfailing amount of mental strength that will carry on even when it fails because it knows that even when it fails it can learn from it and be even better. As conceited as it may sound, I am one of these people and that is what makes me who I am.

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Running Is Who I Am. (2022, December 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 16, 2024, from
“Running Is Who I Am.” Edubirdie, 15 Dec. 2022,
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