Friday, 18 May 2007

Opinion: The Loneliness of the Cross Country Runner

As I stand on top of a hill with 300 other students as mad as myself, I’m thrilled at the prospect of running 12km against the finest cross-country runners in Britain.

A daunting prospect for even the most seasoned of long distance runners, buteven more so considering I’m the only the student from my University here.

By the way, did I mention that there are a thousand sets of eyes watching us?

The maths of course speaks for itself. 15,000 students go to Bournemouth butthere’s only me running here.

I’m the first to admit I have no chance of winning this, but it would be nice to have a companion to share in my plight.

The situation I find myself in though, is not too far away from the problem facing the sport in the UK.

British distance running is in rapid decline and we are struggling to mix it with the world’s finest.

The problem is simple, there aren’t enough people competing in every event from the National championships to the Mickey Mouse open.

It’s hard to see why though. We live in a health conscious age and runningis surely a way to keep fit against life’s temptations.

Being honest though, jogging for fun is a far cry from this deadly serious, competitive event. The gun has already gone, and I’ve found myself at the back of the field, still on the up side, only 11 and a half kilometres to go…