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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Men’s Cross Country looking for a turnaround after slow start

Jonny+Long+and+the+rest+of+the+Cross+Country+squad+are+looking+to+turn+this+season+around
Jonny Long and the rest of the Cross Country squad are looking to turn this season around

It’s been a struggle thus far for the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Men’s Cross Country team — this was not the way they had hoped to open the 2014 season. In the squads’ first three meets, they have finished near the bottom of the pack. Their most recent race being the Keene State Invitational, where they finished ninth out of ten teams. It has not been the start to the season that the Beacons wanted, but there have been positives early on.
Jonny Long, a Sophomore from Newton, MA, has been a bright spot for this team. He has put up some great times in the five-mile distance and he continues to impress, after making the jump from shorter distances this year. His time at the Worcester City Meet was 31 minutes even, good enough to finish 30th out of 75 runners. This wasn’t even his best time of the 2014 campaign. He posted a time of 29:35 at the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs Invitational, which was held on Sept. 20. Long got involved in the sport a few years back.
“I had a lot of friends running distance for the track team in high school,” Long said, “They persuaded me into running cross country instead of playing football. There’s just a lot of nice people and you can make so many friends.” 
The aspect of so many friendly people attracted Long to the sport. Cross Country isn’t just a way to work out and stay in shape. Participating in practices and meets gives competitors the opportunity to meet many new people and establish relationships.
Cross Country is usually thought of as an individual sport. As a runner, you look to improve your time from the last meet and ultimately be as fast as you can. However, there is a team aspect to this sport. The times of every runner are totaled in the end of each meet and the team with the lowest time wins.
“It’s nice to have someone to run with. Someone that runs at the same pace as you. You can improve together as you go,” Long said.
Sometimes this is difficult for Long, as his pace is a little faster than some of his teammates. Even if he is faster during meets, there is a way he wishes to help his team.
“I want to run with teammates more at practice to help us improve. Even if I don’t go all out at practice, I want to help our team improve.”
Although it seems to be viewed as an individual activity, there are plenty of ways that Cross Country is more of a team sport.
Running five miles in just about 30 minutes isn’t easy. There is a lot of hard work that goes into making a runner elite. It’s important to run many miles over the course of a week leading up to a meet. Long and the team run about 30 to 40 miles per week to prepare for a race.
Usually there is one day of the week where the team may run up to 10 to 15 miles. The rest of the week is broken down into shorter runs as they prepare for upcoming meets. 
“This past summer my brother wanted me to do CrossFit with him,” Long said. “So I’ve been working out at the gym and running every day. Sometimes I’d work out twice a day to stay in shape.”
Long has worked extremely hard to improve his running and it has paid off for him in the early going of the season. His goal by the end of the season is to hit 28 minutes in the five-mile distance.”
There are still a few meets left for the Men’s Cross Country team, as they look to turn their season around. Their next race is the Emmanuel College Saints Invitational on Oct. 17.