In my personal life, I don’t like to run. So much so that I probably wouldn’t run if they were giving away Michael Jordan autographs a block from my house. I probably wouldn’t run to meet Tiger Woods either – walk yes, run no.
In sports, it was a different story. I could always run, I was always fairly quick, although, at age 37, the words George and quick don’t seem to go hand-in-hand anymore. In sports, I ran because I had too. I ran because that’s required of me to move quickly around the tennis court, on the baseball diamond, or up and down the basketball court.
Now-a-days, I play golf, and running is the last thing I have to do, unless its away from the occasional snake that is slithering across the fairway and towards my golf ball. That’s about as much running as golf requires me to do.
But I guess, because running is pretty far down the list of priorities in life these days, that’s why I have so much respect for the people that love it. And I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Havre High boys and girls cross country teams, because, above all else, those who go out for the sport of cross country love to run.
The Blue Pony girls have always had a proud tradition of excellence in cross country. Since 1971, HHS has captured three state championships in cross country, including one I was able to cover as a sports writer in 2004, From the likes of Kathy Jarvis, to great coaches like Kim Ray and currently Kyle Fisher, there has always been a strong tradition of running at HHS. And the addition of the boys program several years ago has only helped to strengthen that tradition at Havre High.
And this year’s Blue Pony runners, who will compete in the Class A state meet Saturday in Helena, well they are carrying on that excellence. From standouts like Jess Wiken, Katie Christianson, Trisha Kinsella and Marc Klimas, to all of the runners who make up the Blue Pony packs, the 2012 cross country teams should be commended for their excellence and of their carrying on of the Blue Pony distance running tradition.
To watch the HHS runners compete, running over three miles in all types of terrain and weather is something unique and it’s something that’s very impressive to a guy like me, who doesn’t want to run from one end of my house to the other.
The athletes who compete in the sport of cross country are a special breed, because in order to be good at distance running, at least from a mental standpoint, you have to want to run farther and faster than you did the day before. You have to want to run farther and faster day-after-day. At some point, running must be addictive, and it must become more of a need than just a want or a have to.
And it’s clear, from all the past successes at HHS in the sport of cross country, and from all the hard work and dedication the current Blue Pony boys and girls put into the sport of distance running, that, at this point, the love of running must be ingrained in the Havre culture. It must be ingrained in the culture, just like football and baseball are in our community.
So from a non-distance runner, congratulations to all of you who participate in Havre High cross country, and to those that are heading to the Bill Roberts Golf Course, and the biggest race of 2012, good luck. I see how much you all love to run, and no matter what your times are this weekend, you’ve already done Havre, and its running community proud.