October 10, 2012
On a dreary, rainy and cold Saturday morning, Hamilton College hosted the HAM Invite, an invitational cross country meet. Fourteen schools from the Atlantic Region ran the men’s eight kilometer race. The Hamilton men’s team placed third with a total of 77 points. The average time of our top five runners was 27:17.1; the teams’ 1-5 split – that is, the difference in times between the first and firth finishers – was only 52 seconds.
Running lingo aside, it was a fantastic meet. We knew the course perfectly; as one of my teammates points out, though perhaps less enthusiastically, we practice on it nearly twice a week. Better yet, the conditions were perfect for racing. The cold and wet ensured that we never had to work up a sweat, even if pounding out five miles in under 28 minutes. Luckily, the weather never once turned into a downpour—the course was visible ahead of us and the footing was mostly solid.
This race was probably the most fun I have had all season. Our twisting, turning, hilly home course, which is divided between a corn field and golf green, suits me perfectly. In fact, I would argue that you’re not really running cross country without the organic aroma of cut grass and corn silage.
When the gun went off, I simply let go and let the trail take me. My legs were strong, and my stomach was blessedly calm. For three miles, I was not considering place or time, but racing to my heart’s content. That is, until I heard the chugging breathing of my roommate (who also runs XC) behind me. It was time to kick into high gear. The next two miles hurt, to be sure, but were intoxicatingly competitive. I was part of a pack of three Hamilton runners—the same guys I’ve been training with since day 1. We kicked it to the end, and rounded off the top seven Hamilton placers.
The day was a victory for our team because the runs, the intervals and some of the more humbling hills around Clinton paid off. Better than the individual relief of finishing a race is the gratification from knowing that your team competed its hardest, performed at its peak, and was rewarded for it. This past Saturday, I could not have been happier to sport the large blue H of my uniform.
Also-- Shout out to the women’s team, who won their 5k Race! Go Blue!
Majors: Government and Economics (intended)
Activities: Cross Country, Debate Society
Favorite Pastimes: Late-night Diner breakfast, reading the paper in KJ through the morning, wandering the Root Glen and sipping a latte from Cafe Opus.
Hometown: Newfane, Vt.
High School: Concord Academy