By Elizabeth Forbes, Physical and Health Education Teacher and Coach
"Runners take your mark... Go!" are words that excited our Linden cross-country team, who were more than ready to leave their mark on the trails this season.
Runners from Grades 5–12 trained through September and October in order to feel confident at the start line of their races, which ranged from 1.75km to 4km in distance. They practiced with endurance runs, threshold intervals, speed work, and hill repeats. And of course, in true Linden Nation style, they also practiced their team cheers. The team vibe was strong right from day 1 with senior and junior athletes training together and supporting each other in their work towards individual and team goals. As a coach, it was inspiring to watch how, through their commitment, hard work, attention to pacing strategies, perseverance through challenging workouts (hill repeats with rocks!), and unrelenting enthusiasm towards each and every teammate, they created a magical feeling that displayed a quiet confidence on race day.
Our Grades 5–8 runners attended the Withrow Cup Invitational event on October 6th. For some younger members of our team, this was their first ever cross-country race, and for some their first time competing on any sports team. The nervous excitement was noticeable, but as the races started it was apparent that the Linden spirit was in full force. Linden runners tackled their individual goals with great perseverance and finished with proud smiles and sweaty brows. At the end of the meet, there was a real sense of accomplishment, an ever bigger sense of school community and pride, and some impressive team results with our Grade 5-6 team placing 3rd and our Grade 7-8 team winning their age division trophy (Lucia, Intezar, Serena, Juliana, Julia placed 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th individually!).
On Friday, October 21st, our senior team joined the junior team at the SSAF Cross-Country Championships at Sunnybrook Park. This is a huge event that hosts over 1500 runners from over 30 schools. Mother Nature threw us a bit of a curve ball with our first really cold day of the fall and rainfall all day long, but this didn't seem to affect our athletes one bit. It was a phenomenal day of gritty racing in real cross-country conditions (mud, mud, mud). With exemplary leadership from our senior athletes, Linden runners cheered in each runner from every school in support and recognition of how challenging the races were due to the weather. Extra loud cheers would erupt as Linden runners passed by, inspiring our runners to finish with big finishing sprints. At the end of the event, we knew it was a special day for Linden Nation. As one of our co-captains mentioned in our final team huddle, "This is what a team is. This is a family!" in reference to the team vibe. We packed up and left the park with smiles on our faces, pride in our hearts, and water in our shoes.
Over the weekend the race convenor emailed the final results. Congratulations Linden runners! So many personal bests and goals realized, and a handful of top 10 finishes (Liana 1st, Rachel 7th, Ellen 8th, Sam 9th). More results:
- U12 Girls: 5th place team finish
- U14 Girls: 3rd place team finish
- U16 Girls: 2nd place team finish
- U20 Girls won the championship banner!
Thank you to all the athletes for truly representing the spirit of Linden Nation at practices and at the meets, to the parent volunteer drivers for transporting our athletes and spending the day in the rain cheering, to Coaches Tulay and Soteira for helping with coaching duties at our two respective meets, and to Anne in Grade 11 for being our school designated volunteer on the race course. #YouAreLindenNation