GatorPress – Running: Nature’s Torture Device

By: Tanner Hines- 9/13/18
Cross country team at the regional meet 2017

Cross country is all about running. There is no score board or a ball that needs be placed in a goal. It only requires a willing participant and a decent pair of shoes. With that in mind, cross country is one of the most student involved sports in the nation and running is something that all humans have in common.

Coach Cary Hilburn and his daughter, Georgia, have been running for most of their lives and have no plans to stop.

“I plan on sticking with running, for sure.” Georgia said. “I feel reinvigorated after every year of practice,” Coach Hilburn said.

The Hilburns live and breathe cross country. Cary has had the opportunity to coach each of his three kids, along with many others, and says that it’s a “luxury” to be able to do that.

“It’s been about building a team of awesome kids,” Cary said, “They may not all be quality runners, but they are all quality people.”

Cross country is not meant to be taken lightly. According to Coach Hilburn, the common misconception is that all runners are “pansies” and “lightweights” simply because they aren’t like linemen or powerlifters. The truth is that these runners are some of the most strong willed people on the planet.

“Cross country is a lot of pain, emotion, and mental conflict, but most of all it’s about becoming a master of your own pain,” Georgia said “It’s not about winning the race, it’s about winning your race.”

From coach to student, there are very few differences in their goals. Both want to make it to the state competitions but each has a deeper goal in mind.

“I want to form bonds with the team,” Georgia said, “ It’s about the whole team crossing the finish line.” “I want to get people into a healthier lifestyle,” Coach Hilburn said.

With the season coming up and the team always accepting new members, there are a couple things that new and interested runners should know:

  1. Come to practice
  2. Be patient
  3. Stick with it
  4. Start off slow and work your way up
  5. Push yourself when you need to
  6. Keep it interesting

Running isn’t something that all people have a niche for, but it is very possible to train yourself to that point. You have to take everything one step at a time.

“New runners have a lot of willpower,” Georgia said, “That’s all you need to get through a race.”