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:
- 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.)
- 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!
- 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.