Why I run “for fun,” and why you should too


Patricia Reers

Del Val’s girls’ cross country team huddles up at the start line before a race.

Clare Erwin, The Delphi Editor

I can’t express the amount of times I’ve been asked the question, “Why would you ever run for fun?” followed by, “I could never do that.” As it turns out, there are many reasons why I run, and yes, you can too.

I joined the cross country team my sophomore year, after playing soccer all throughout middle school and as a freshman at Del Val. While I enjoyed soccer, it was definitely not my passion, and it soon became apparent to me that, as a midfielder, I was doing more running than anything else. After the season ended, I decided that to stay in shape I would continue running as much as I could. At first, my goal was to simply run a mile each day, but as time went on, I found I was able to go farther and faster than the previous day, week, and month. I loved the feeling of improvement and knowing that with each run I was becoming a healthier individual. Once Fall eventually came back around and the new school year began, I assessed what it was that I really enjoyed doing, and I ultimately decided to take the leap and try something new. Joining the Cross Country team was one of the best choices of my high school career, and I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls to share the experience with.

It’s no secret that exercising is pretty much the most rewarding thing you can do for your body and your mind. Yes, it burns calories and helps to build stronger muscles, bones, and joints, but many of its more important effects are not as physically noticeable. Exercise is proven to boost your overall mood, increase your energy levels, and even help you sleep better. Regular cardio (which can be defined as 30 minutes of an increased heat rate, 5 days a week), has been linked to improved brain function, a crucial component for high school students. Furthermore, according to numerous studies, exercise has been shown to minimize the signs of memory loss in older adults and decreases the risk for developing dementia. It also helps to alleviate the symptoms of many mental illnesses prevalent among teenagers, most notably anxiety and depression. With the numerous scientifically backed benefits that exercise proposes, it’s no wonder why so many make the effort to include it in their daily lives.

While any and all movement is good movement, running in particular, and even walking for that matter, is the most basic and efficient form of physical movement, as it requires only yourself and practically no equipment besides a good pair of running shoes (trust me, this is extremely important). Joining Cross Country ensures that you’ll be motivated and focused to run, but it’s also a chance for you to meet new people, both inside and outside of school. In my experience, while there is definitely a competitive atmosphere at meets, Cross Country is largely an individual sport based on improving one’s own time rather than other runners’ times. Being able to progress as an individual builds not only strength, but also confidence.

If you don’t already participate in a sport during the fall season and would like to make new friends while becoming more physically active, consider joining Del Val’s Cross Country team. Beginner runners are always welcomed and encouraged!