How cross-country running transforms a casual, run-of-the-mill jog into something more structured — and reflective
Like exercise and fall foliage? It’s time you took up cross-country running.
THERE’S NO BETTER way to enjoy brisk autumn air than by taking in a few gulps of it at the end of a hill sprint. Mind you, cross-country running is not just more aesthetically rewarding than city running — it’s more physically and mentally rewarding, too. Treading over different terrain — flat expanses of grass, rolling forest stretches, and steep inclines — while keeping your breathing steady combines the physical benefits of aerobics with a mindfulness workout.
If that all sounds a bit intellectual, well, yes — the sport has decidedly academic origins. In the 1830s, English schoolboys invented a game in which a group of “hares” ran through the woods leaving a paper trail to guide — but also try to mislead — a group of “hounds” chasing after them. Nowadays, “harriers” remains a popular nickname for cross-country runners. For an ideal course, chart a two-kilometre path that passes through open fields and hilly woodlands, and repeat this loop up to six times. Most large parks or ski club trails offer appropriate conditions.