Our Cross Country Team @ SISHK
by Arthur Liu (DP1B)
When Mr Patrick Wong (HOD / PE & CCA) approached me at the end of the last academic year regarding the creation of a new cross country CCA for the school, asking if I would be interested in leading it, I was quite taken aback. This was because my group of friends and I had approached him earlier that year proposing the creation of a similar athletics team centred around sprint events, but to no avail – as simply finding a track we could regularly train on was a challenge we could not overcome. I was devastated as I envisioned a community in SISHK that was passionate about running, and longed for the opportunity to share my passion for it with others, and this dream finally turned into reality!
We started planning during the summer holidays, creating an entire running program for this academic year. This program was special as it was drawn from our vastly different experiences being “runners”- I was a sprinter who competed locally and specialised in the 60m; Isaac is a triathlete who competes at the national level. However, we both agreed on one thing: we were not preparing for the Olympics, and the primary goal was for our runners to get fit WHILST having fun. This journey was to be a marathon, not a sprint; it needed to be sustainable and enjoyable in the long term.
Looking back at the last six months as Captain of the cross country team, I have probably learnt more from my runners than I have taught them. For one, I learnt the importance of flexibility – sometimes, runners get injured or are dealing with external issues, all of which can impact training. Other times, we simply have things we cannot avoid, like heavy rain or the extreme cold; yet we always manage to improvise by hosting some sort of fitness session allowing students to train regardless of circumstance.
We also competed in the HKSSF Cross Country competition for the very first time, qualifying and making it to the finals. I consider this quite an accomplishment for myself, but more so for my runners, all of whom had no prior experience in running but have come a long way over the past few months.
My experiences leading the team have all been defined by small, seemingly unimportant moments during training – I believe that “seeing is believing” when it comes to running, and paid close attention to their biomechanical running form, as that can tell you a lot about a runner. However, a happy athlete is a healthy athlete, so making sure my athletes enjoy the workouts we were doing is just as important to me, as a coach needs to feel for a runner as closely as they feel for themselves.
If you have ever contemplated picking up this sport, I only have two words for you: just run!