What other school, at the end of a long fall athletic season, asks its students—and many of its faculty—to run 4.8 miles over a significantly hilly course? Cardigan does and the challenge is accepted by all.
This year the run began on the football field under cloudy skies and cool temperatures. When the air horn blast exploded over Marrion Field, students and faculty, and even a couple of dogs, took off past Clark Morgan and down Alumni Drive. Moving as one, the crowd squeezed through the stone wall and spilled onto the main road. Those at the front pushed the pace, stretching the amoeba-like formation up and over the hilly course.
A mile into the course the runners and walkers had settled into a steady pace, but their concentration was interrupted by the rumble of a motor scooter, piloted by our favorite Cougar (not sure if he has his license?). At the crest of the first hill, he parked and offered donuts to all who passed. Perhaps it wasn’t the best fuel choice, but his smiles and genuine words of encouragement made the climb to the top of the hill a little easier.
As the course reached the southern side of the lake, the steady uphill grade turned into rolling hills. It was perhaps the toughest part of the course, knowing that the end was still miles away. Fortunately, there was no shortage of encouragement. Faculty were strategically positioned throughout the course, offering fist bumps, encouraging words, and inspiring music. Even some members of the community stepped out of their houses to cheer on the boys and witness their solid effort.
At the last mile-marker Head of School Chris and Cynthia Day P’12,’13 were again ready to offer words of encouragement. While the woods of the first half of the course offered natural scenic beauty, the final stretch on Canaan Street offered a chance to see New England’s old colonials at their finest. For those who still had energy in their legs, the pace quickened, moving swiftly through the fall leaves blown into piles during the prior week’s wind storms.
At the far end of Canaan Street, the hill heading up to campus offered one final challenge before the downhill finish onto Marrion Field. Cheers from those who had already finished filled the air as everyone supported those still hard at work, making the most of the last few yards of the race.
4.8 miles. Even for the cross-country runners, this was a challenge. It is with pride that we watch the boys take on this tradition with positive attitudes and determination. Many complain of sore legs and tired lungs, but it is always with more than a hint of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment.