No Running From Injuries

The Adversities All Runners Face


HHS Cross Country Team

Justin Bouffard

Junior, Johnny Cowen

Last year, junior Johnny Cowen, who has been on varsity ever since he started cross country, was the team’s fastest runner at the TVL Race with a 17:27 5k time, placing 4th overall. This year, however, he was forced to end his season early.

“I stopped running—it just hurt to run,” Cowen said.

His doctor confirmed that his injury to his right leg would take him out for the rest of the season.

Despite being a touch-free sport, cross country injuries are fairly common. Jennifer Fairbanks, coach of the boy’s cross country team, says shin splints are the most common injury she sees.

“I wish I could come up with a cure. I can try to have runners avoid them by not slapping their feet going down hills, not doing too much running down the road, but inevitably people are gonna get shin splints,” Fairbanks said.

High school senior Nick Kalen seemed to have a promising start to the season. Already running and training before the season started,  Kalen developed tendonitis three weeks ago and has not come back since.

“I should have been out only for a week, but I tried to come back early to run at our last home meet.  It was our last home meet, so I felt I had to run, but it brought back the injury, so it put me back out for longer,” Kalen said.

“Runners who dramatically increase training and have tight, weak calves are [often] vulnerable,” according to the magazine “Runner’s World.”

Kalen isn’t the only member of the team to have gotten tendonitis recently.

“Last year I had tendonitis in my knee,” said Ethan DeYoung. “Ran too many miles, I go too hard.”

HHS Cross Country Team

Running injuries are more often caused by gradual abuse over time, as opposed to single instances, but sometimes injuries aren’t felt until race day.

“In the middle of a race I really felt it, I just couldn’t run,” DeYoung said. “I couldn’t keep going… I was devastated.”

Coach Fairbanks says it is good to take days off when needed, but there are things an injured runner can do to stay in shape.

Injured members of the cross country team, even if they can’t run, can still be very active members of the team. “I’ve been… going to practices after and saying hi to the team,” Kalen said, “I go to all the meets to support the team and all the spaggers too.”

Despite losing a top runner, the team still has a very strong core.

New runners, like Alex Brown and Patrick Barnes both placed top 5 in the last race, giving the Hillers another victory, despite being newcomers this year.

“I hope to make a comeback next week,” said Kalen. “I want to finish up the season strong, and I want us to go 6-0 and win TVL’s!”