As Burlingame sports move into the winter season, volleyball, football and water polo come to a close, but the Burlingame cross country team braves the cold weather to continue training. The runners spend the winter training for an upcoming half-marathon in January, a run far longer than any during the fall season.
Co-captains Jackie Greene and Kaeley Rollins attribute their team’s commitment and perseverance to the relaxed atmosphere of their practices and the strong friendships that foster support among team members.
“We enjoy running with each other, and try to focus on running together instead of running the fastest,” said co-captain Greene.
Greene indicated that the friendly team dynamic makes the runners more successful because team members are not dreading going to practice, but rather looking forward to it.
“Even though all our practices are optional, we have one of the highest rates of student body involvement in our sport,” she explained. The athletes’ strong commitment allows the team to function on it’s own, without heavy reliance on their coach.
Rollins shared that, unlike other Burlingame sports, cross country is able to extend its season because not many of their athletes participate in winter sports and cross country provides a great way to stay fit. Winter cross country also offers the unique experience for runners to run in meets outside the typical cross country race, such as the Hot Chocolate 15k in San Francisco.
“It’s called the Hot Chocolate run because they give you hot chocolate afterwards. It’s a fun thing–like the color run–and definitely a different experience because you’re not worried about beating San Mateo or Aragon. You’re running with your community,” said Greene.
In comparison to the fall season, winter cross country has a small but dedicated team of around 15 runners. The team also runs longer distances, about five miles at each of their Tuesday and Saturday practices, which in itself requires more perseverance than the shorter distances during the regular season.
Greene commented that in the winter season, there is less pressure to do well, and the workouts are more flexible.
“If someone is worn out from a hard day at school, they are easily able to bring down the intensity of their workout,” she said.
The team enjoys running the winding roads of Hillsborough, the Bay Trail, or around Coyote Point. But, according to Rollins, the winter cross country team can be found training persistently on almost any trail in the Burlingame area.