Runners at Detroit Cristo Rey joined the cross country team for a variety of reasons, but endurance, camaraderie and work ethic they build has given them a passion for it.

Oscar Jimenez, a junior at Cristo Rey, joined cross country because his brothers joined. “I thought that it would be good for me,” he said. Whether he did it because his siblings did it, or because he simply likes running, Jimenez has benefited from cross country. He said, “I have more endurance and learned to work more as a team.” Jimenez physically advanced, and he now mentally able to see the bright side of being on a team and supporting each other.

While Jimenez joined cross country in a reflective way to his brothers, Jorge Reyna, also a junior, was advised by another runner to join. Another runner “told me about it so I wanted to try,” Reyna said, “and as I kept running I realized that this would help keep me conditioned for baseball.”

Cross Country has also enhanced Reyna’s focus and work ethic, he added. “How we would meet up right after school everyday to go run shaped consistency that I wouldn’t feel right if I missed a practice,” he said. As Reyna’s experience shows, Cross Country can not only prepare athletes for different sports or physical activities, but also shape different parts of their lives. For Reyna, cross country has unlocked potential he didn't know he possessed.

There is more to cross country than competing with others, Reyna said. Runners are also competing with themselves. “We are individually timed so my goal is always to beat the time I got before,” Reyna said. Runners try to beat their personal records and prove that they have improved from the last race.

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Senior Osvaldo Lopez at a cross country meet.

Like most sports, “cross country helps you build friendships and support,” Reyna said. WIth just the experience of running with the team, runners build a variety of skills ranging from athletic to social.

Indeed, the mental preparation and challenge runners face, help them learn how to work hard and tackle the difficulties of the future.