Track And Field Verses Cross Country


Elisabeth Avenell

The track behind the school.

Elisabeth Avenell, Staff Writer

With track and field season on the horizon, you might be wondering, what’s the difference between track and field and cross country?

Cross Country is a fall sport and takes place right as school is starting and track and field is in the spring.

The amount of student participation is another big difference. About 150 athletes sign up each year to run or do field events for track and field but only about 40 sign up for cross country. Cross country doesn’t get as many students signing up because of how many miles they run to train and how many miles they run in actual competitions. The length of the course for a typical high school cross country meet is about 3.1 miles and in college it is between five and seven miles. For track and field the farthest they run is 2 miles.

Another big difference is where they run. For cross country, they run around a certain geographical area but for track they run around a 1/4 mile track made out of tire rubber.

Don’t forget about the field in track and field, though. There is shot put where the athlete releases a shot into the air and whoever throws it farthest, wins. There is also long jump where the athlete runs and jump into a sand pit and whoever lands the farthest wins.

Some students still prefer cross country over track.

“I would rather run a new course every time than the same track everyday,” AnnaMarie Mahler says.

The students also prefer the smaller team size because they can have a closer bond with their teammates.

If you are considering doing track and field or cross country, remember that they do the same type of training which is lots of running and weight lifting to build endurance and they both require lots of time and effort.