How to Support Your Cross Country Team

I get it. At other sporting events you get to sit on bleachers in a designated spot, and clearly cheer when a Charger athlete does something spectacular- a sweet header, a killer dig, a  slam dunk.

But what do you do for Cross Country runners?

There are no trick shots to applaud, no refs to heckle, and no seats to sit back and enjoy the show. So what do you do?

Well I am glad that you asked, because this sport I love is amazing to participate in and amazing to watch-when you know how to do it.


First of all-you should know how to win. Here’s the gist of it: the top seven runners from each team are awarded points based on their overall finishing positions. In other words, the winner of the race is awarded one (1) point; second place is awarded two (2) points; and so on. A team’s score is the total of the points earned by its first five finishers. The team with the lowest score wins! Winning is awarded by t-Shirts/medals for the top finishers and a team trophy 🙂

Each runner is pushing their bodies to the limits trying to earn their team the lowest number possible.

So as they are willingly enduring this pain for the success of the team, and for the glory of God in discipline & perseverance, it is INCREDIBLY encouraging and helpful to have people cheering them on along the way. The Bible compares life to running a race (Rom. 12, 1 Cor. 9, Isa. 40, 2 Tim. 4), and just like YOU appreciate people going out of their way to give you an encouraging word as you preserve through life’s difficulties, so do our runners appreciate the motivation that comes from hearing their names cheered from the sidelines.

Here are a few generic tips to make you be the BEST race fan you can be:

  1. Move– Of course it’s fun to be at the finish line and watch the runners give their all in those final 100 meters, but there is a lot more that you could be watching and cheering! If possible, research and plan your route and get the chance to cheer for your runner at multiple locations on the course! (It’s actually a blast to run like mad around the course to try and catch the runners at the next crossroads.)
  2. Make Noise– Yell! Clap! Whistle! More cowbell! Encouraging phrases are the best to hear. Even if you don’t know the runners’ name’s you can still call out the individual (Yeah LBC! Way to go red! Etc.) Good phrases include but are not limited to: Push it! You’ve got this! You’re looking strong (unless they don’t look strong-thou shalt not lie ;))!  You can catch this guy (if that is attainable)! Work this hill!
  3. Respect the Course– Don’t stand or walk on the course. Runners have enough to worry about navigating around-let’s not add spectator’s bodies to the list

The Lord teaches me so much through the sport of running (seriously, if you ever want to hear me monologue-just ask me about it!), and I LOVE the runners on our LBC Cross Country team. They are thoughtful, hysterical, caring, and have a deep desire to know God and make him known. I want people to come out and support them because they are amazingly hardworking and love to be cheered on at meets. I hope this post equips and motivates you to come to a race and cheer your heart out for your Cross Country team.

A New Adventure: Cross Country Coaching

My heart is incredibly full right now. And much of that is due to the fact that it is preseason, and God has given me the awesome privilege of being the Assistant Coach for Lancaster Bible College’s Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams.

I love running. I get giddy when my Runner’s World magazine comes in the mail. I try to convince all my friends to meet me to run together. I love waking up just before the sun to run in the cool, early mornings.

And I love Lancaster Bible College students. I look forward to filling my schedule with lunch appointments and coffee dates to hear about all that God is teaching them through class and chapels. Pride wells up in me throughout the school year as I watch them flourish in sports, music, and campus leadership. I love scrolling through social media and seeing their joy in their LBC experiences.

And God, in His perfect timing and grace, chose to unite both of those passions this season.

Charger Cross Country

I have the joy of working with a head coach who deeply loves the Lord, his family, running, and discipleship. Coach Hamm is knowledgeable, personable, and incredibly hard-working.

The runners are each a gift from God. Below are the notes I took during our brainstorming session earlier this week. These were their responses when asked, “What do you want Cross Country to be this year?”

Team Brainstorm 2015

They don’t want to complain, or compare themselves to others. They want to be known for their God honoring attitudes and work ethics. They want to represent Christ to the teams we compete against, and to each other at every practice and meet. They want to improve. To set goals. To see progess. To push themselves and each other in a healthy, encouraging way. They want to integrate glorifying God through our sport in everything, finding spiritual parallels everywhere they look. They want to be holisticaly healthy in their running, stretching, eating, and sleeping. They want to care for each other well, hold each accountable, and spend time together.

I am beyond excited for this season, and this team that God has brought together.

Soli Deo Gloria

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How to Run-A Beginner’s Guide

After my last blog post on running, I had a reader-miss lucillethebrave1- comment and ask, “How did you get to a point of being able to run for more than 3 minutes and work your way up?”

Well, that is a great question!

The simply answer is: I just kept running.

Need A Little Motivation? : theBERRY

The more you run, the better you will get at running. In a way-that’s all there is.

But additionally I was fortunate to have a patient, dear, athletic friend the spring semester of my freshmen year in college, believe in me. Kristina was a star on our girl’s soccer team, and a beautiful, bubbily, brunet, Jesus-loving freshman as well. At some point while we were hanging out, I voiced how I wished that I could run-but alas, I couldn’t even run a mile. Kristina-in an excited, joyful spirit told me, “Of course you can!”.

“No Kristina, really. I can’t. I tried last semester, and didn’t last over 3 minutes.”

She was not shaken, “No, Betty, I am SURE you can do it! I could do it with you! I will literally run beside you the entire time, and together you will run a mile.”

And for some reason, I was up for the challenge. I put on the gear and met her outside just a few days later. She set some ground rules, the primary one being: do not stop running.

“I don’t care how slowly we run, Betty-we are running an entire mile”.

And so we did. Off we went and she coached me the entire 15-20 minute jog. She told me not to clench my fists, to lean into the hills, to open my stride on the way down the hills. And though by the end of the mile my lungs were on fire, I was short of breath, and I thought I might hurl-I ran a mile.

I could do it.

And so I kept doing it. I kept running, and it kept getting easier. I kept running and I kept getting faster. I kept running, and soreness decreased and my endurance increased. In fact, yesterday I ran the longest distance I’ve ever run before-18 miles. And I didn’t stop. And I didn’t clench my fists, and I leaned into the hills, and I opened up my stride on the way down the hills. Thanks very much to Kristina Clairmont who took the time to joyfully believe in me, and run the slowest mile of her life-but the first mile of my life.

The Skinny Ms. Running Program for Beginners will help you take baby steps toward reaching your goals.

So, lucillethebrave1-my suggestion to you is to run with a (patient and kind) runner friend if you have one. And if you don’t have that luxury-that’s okay too, just run. Run as long and as far as you can today, and then tomorrow-run longer and farther. You might not like it right away, but don’t give up! You’ll soon find joy in your runs-in the music, in the great outdoors, in the time to clear your mind and refresh your body.

#Scripture                                  let us run with perseverence...Hebrews 12:1-2

Free printable of Isaiah 40:31 Bible verse:  "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV)   (pink, green, and aqua floral)

Wait…I’m a Runner? When Did That Happen?

This morning was a pretty typical Tuesday. I woke up around 5:00am, picked up my friend Kelly on my way to the gym, we ran 7 hilly miles on the elliptical, stretched, chatted, stopped at Dunkin Doughnuts for coffee <3, and went back to our homes to get ready for our days.

And I love it.

I love starting my mornings early.

I love running.

(I love DD’s.) 

But today it kind of hit me, how much I delight in this training schedule I’m doing. I’m prepping for a half marathon in early March, and a full in late April, and I’m tickled by all of it.


Betty Pompell?

Likes running?

Are you as shocked as I am?

I remember a time I couldn’t run for more than 3 minutes (that is not a joke, I really couldn’t! Carrissa Oakes is my witness!). I remember a time I would have rather go down a sandpaper slide than run a mile! So how/when/why I am so pumped now to get miles under my shoes and get into that rhythm on the pavement?

Oh. That is a genuine question. I don’t really have an answer to it. I just know that I do.

And I know this: I am thankful for each opportunity I get to run. I am thankful to God, knowing that HE is the one that sustains my health and gives me the ability to wake up in the mornings, and move throughout the trail. HE is the one that keeps my feet under me and blesses me at the end of each run with endorphins and the mind and ability to stretch. HE created this beautiful world to enjoy the scenery during an outside jog. HE gave me eyes to see this world-and even its colors! HE brilliantly created technology and electronics for my days on the treadmill. It’s only because of HIS grace that I have two working ears and can hear beautiful melody lines and awesome rhythmic masterpiece on my phone while I run. And it is only because of HIM that I can experience the joy that it is to see and worship HIM, the source and sustainer of all these magnificent things!

So whether you love to run or hate to run or fall somewhere in between-you have to admit that we serve a pretty awesome God. Maybe take some time today and think about something you find happiness in, and brainstorm all the ways that God is actually responsible for that happiness. Leave me a comment below on what you come up with! I’d love to see your thoughts!