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Cross Country VS Track

       Cross country and track are two running sports, but have few similarities. These sports have many differences and sometimes the terms "cross country" and "track are used leaving the impression they are the same sport. A runner knows the difference.

       Cross country is exactly what it says. It is a course mapped out around a certain geographical area. The length of the course for a high school runner is about 3.1 miles. The length of a collegiate course for girls is about five miles and for men is about seven miles. The course takes the runner through all types of terrain. It can be rocky paths, hills, mountains, and creeks. Spikes are normally worn to help the runner get traction on these types of obstacles. Spikes are most helpful  after it has rained.

       Track is a variety of different events. The events include hurdles, sprints, distance, and relays. The hurdling distances are 110 meters and 300 meters. The sprinting distances are 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters. The lengths for the distance events are 800 meters, one mile, and two miles. Relays are teams of four people who run a certain distance. The relay distances are four by 100 meters, four by 400 meters, and four by 800 meters.

       Unlike cross country, track has a different type of terrain. A track is a circle, usually about one-fourth of a mile. Most newer outdoor tracks are made out of tire rubber, but can be made out of cement or cinders. Most tracks have five to seven lanes. Depending on the event, the runner must stay in their assigned lane.

       The pace the runner sets between theses two sports is very different. For cross country the pace is slightly slower since the distance is long. The runners usually sprint the last half mile to pass opponents to place higher. Sprinting also helps in making up some time. The pace a track runner sets is determined by which event he or she runs.

       The similarities between the two sports is that they both involve running. The runners must work and train hard to succeed in both sports. The training involved is similar, too. During training the runners practice running long distances and sprinting. Some runners include weight lifting in their workout. It helps to build muscle, which in return helps build endurance. Before a runner even begins to run or workout, they must stretch their muscles. If their muscles are not stretched there is a good chance the muscles will be injured. A runner has their own type of stretches they do. Each person has a different way of stretching out certain muscles.       

       Cross country and track are two different sports that involve a lot of running. Usually when an athlete participates in one, they also participate in the other. Both sports are good ways to exercise and give an athlete a sense of self confidence to work hard. Hopefully this has cleared up the difference between the two sports. It also gives an idea of how the two sports are somewhat similar, but not exactly the same. The two sports are hard to confuse when the differences between them are known.