Running Through the Cold

Girls Winter Running athletes prepare for the cold winter temperatures.

Rachel Marsh, Reporter

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The bell rings, school is out for the day. People leave, go home to do their other tasks. But one group stays behind, puts on their running clothes and head out for a run. A run? Yes, a run. Even though it’s December or January and the bitterly cold wind blows through all their layers. Some might call them crazy, but they are just runners. This is winter running. 

“[The purpose is] to ease back into running after the cross country season before track to get your legs moving, doing faster things, and getting back in shape,” Annika Veit ‘22 said.

Led by volunteer Tom Mittman, the runners meet every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. They run varying distances depending on how they are feeling. 

“[Mittman] is a retired cross country and track coach. He volunteers and takes us on runs on Monday mornings at 7:00, Thursdays after school around 3:15, and Saturday mornings at 8:00,” Veit said.

The runners run three times a week in the bitter cold, facing sub-twenty temperatures. Running at least three times a week helps to keep runners fit and prepared for track season. Both coaches for track and cross country credit some of the successes of their past seasons to the athletes staying in shape over the long break in between. 

“Being a distance runner is like working as a sculptor that is carving something out of rock. You want to chip away at the rock. You’re not going to swing a massive hammer and break the rock in one day. It takes days, weeks, and sometimes years to experience the benefits of your training,” cross country coach Ryan Ahlers said. “[Winter running] is a great opportunity to get aerobic miles in your legs while helping runners gain confidence through more training.” 

Winter running is not just for varsity or aspiring varsity runners. It is open to anyone. 

“Anybody can come, it doesn’t matter how fast you are or where you think you stand in the rankings. Everybody can join and run at their own pace. Tom will be biking along and come and talk to you, it’s really fun,” Veit said.

Not only does winter running keep a runner in shape, according to the runners, it also provides just as much of the team aspect like cross country or track does. The runners make memories to keep with them. 

“Even when we’re serious, we have silly moments. Even though there are few girls that do winter running, I found I’ve been closer with them, just because of how many more memories that occur,” Lucy Corbin ‘22 said.