Molly Huddle: Why Cross Country is so important, by Larry Eder

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Molly Huddle, Oakley Mini 10k, photo by PhotoRun.net

Molly Huddle is the American record holder at 5,000 meters. She set this record in August 2010 at the Van Damme Memorial in Brussels. The record is tough. This year, Molly has run a half marathon (1:09), 10,000m (30:47), a 5,000m on the track (14:55.90) and now an AR at 10k of 31:37 on the grueling Central Park Mini 10k course. 

We asked Molly to answer a couple of questions on how important cross country is for distance runners. We are encouraging high school runners to sign up for the www.500MileChallenge.com, a new program from Saucony. 
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Molly Huddle, Mamitu Daska, photo by PhotoRun.net

RBR, #1: Why is cross country so important to high school running? 

Molly Huddle: Cross Country is important because it's often a high school runner's introduction to racing. It's the first season of the year and the focus is usually on team goals and obscure distances with less of a focus on splits and times . It's still a really challenging sport, but the atmosphere is usually more fun and freestyle, with an emphasis on running tough and honing pure competition before the kids step into the whirlwind track world of strategy, splits, times and laps.


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Molly makes the break, photo by PhotoRun.net 


2. What has cross country added to your running?


Molly Huddle: Cross Country has forced me to become a stronger runner mentally, physically and aerobically. By aiming for a world cross race early in the year, I had to lay a foundation of base work that often ended up carrying me through many months of spring and summer races. I struggle on hills and soft surfaces, so to have to workout and race outside my comfort zone made me tougher and made my legs stronger. 


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Molly Huddle sets AR of 31:37, photo by PhotoRun.net


Also, World Cross Country is usually the most uncomfortable race of my entire year so it makes everything else feel almost comfortable in comparison!


Special thanks to Molly Huddle for her honest answers and to Brian Mahoney, Manager of Saucony Sports Marketing for his kind assistance in this venture. 

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