Johnny Reid – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – There are two sports that revolve around running. One is cross-country. The other is track and field.

Even though there are two running-based sports, most people really don’t know the difference. If they do know the difference, then it’s more likely that they just don’t know what cross-country is.

It is generally thought that track athletes sprint short distances and cross-country athletes run much farther. While that’s true, there is much more to it than that.

When asked if they knew the difference between the two sports, students had a general idea but didn’t know many specifics.

Junior Peyton McLaughlin said track athletes run on a track, while cross-country athletes run in a forest.

Senior Andreas Mendieta said, “Track runs shorter distances and lots of different events and cross country runs miles and miles.”

Students were also asked how far cross-country runners raced. Junior Jacob Pipercic didn’t know an exact distance but he stated, “They run a really far distance for a long time.”

McLaughlin and Mendieta agreed with Pipercic that cross country runners run really far but couldn’t give an exact distance.

High school cross-country is a sport that takes place in the fall. High schoolers run five kilometers (km), the equivalent to 3.1 miles, on all different types of terrain, anywhere from roads to fields. Mountains and hills are also a big part of it, just not as much in Florida since it’s limited on hills.

Track and field also has much more variety since it has running as well as field events. Field events include long jump, high jump, triple jump, shot put, discus, and pole vault.

Running events range from sprints of 100, 200, and 400 meters to distance events of 800, 1600, and 3200 meters. Track also includes hurdle events of 100, 110, and 300 meters along with the 4×100, 4×400 and 4×800 meter relay events.

These are the most basic track events at most standard meets. Large meets have many more running and relay races.

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