I always had thought of running as a burden, up until this season. I have given running a shot at various times, such as when I participated in CYO. Unlike our team I just did not feel the team aspect of running. Often times, I would be running by myself and dreadfully pushing myself through each run. I would compare myself to stronger runners on the team and think “am I ever going to get there?” I ended up stepping back from CYO in the middle of the season. The hardest thing for me was approaching my coach and saying the words “I quit.” This would come to be one of my biggest mistakes, but also the best learning experiences I had faced. I just didn’t enjoy it. I didn’t enjoy running by myself at practice, I didn’t enjoy the team aspect, and I didn’t enjoy being one of the last people to finish in a race. I moved onto try out middle school cross country and track and took off the winter and summer seasons. Middle school running was a nice experience, but I still didn’t feel the motivation and life of running.
During this past summer, I had to make the decision between cross country, and you guessed it... golf. I decided to choose cross country, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I went to the first practice and felt an immediate click with the people on the team. Upper classmen especially made me feel welcomed and part of the team. Like some people on the team, it was hard for me to get into the rhythm of running. It was difficult to get in shape physically, but the team made it enjoyable. The hog island trips, the rainy Gettysburg trip, and most of all the WWE nights with bulletproof Owen and unstoppable Zeke were some amazing memories made. Through all this, what I have discovered I value the most is the friendships I have made and how I have grown to understand that running is more than just fast times and mileage.
The title “How you’ve changed me” is directed towards each and every one of you. You have all made me feel a part of something bigger than myself and I’ve grown because of it. I’ve grown physically getting faster and faster each day, I’ve grown amazing friendships, and I’ve grown a ton mentally. Though my CYO years were rough, this team has made me realize that quitting is not an option. I finally enjoy running and feel the motivation to do good. This team is more than I could ever ask for. Though I’m new to the team and the world of running, I know one thing that’s for certain, never pass up an opportunity. If I had not taken the opportunity to join the team, I would have never found my true self and what I’m capable of. Thank YOU for showing me what it means to be a part of something extraordinary.
~ Brenden- Class of ‘25