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by Brandon Laan, MA COM student and team captain

The 2007 cross country teams began the season running…away from each other. Before departing for Alaska, both teams took to the paintball battlefield at Bellows Air Force Station. Little did the team know that paint balling would set the tone for the remainder of the season. Long after the wounds had mended and the bruises disappeared, the teams look out for one another just as they did on the battlefield. Teams like this do not simply stumble onto the HPU campus. For coaches, the 2007 campaign began long before the runners appeared on campus.

The coaches has been nothing short of outstanding throughout the short season. They represents the true spirit of cross country running. They have assembled not only a very competitive team, but a team that more closely resembles a family. It is a pleasure running for this school and team because of the coaches efforts.

Upon arriving in Anchorage, the team ran…surprise, surprise! It is not everyday that a runner is inspired to run by something other than personal goals. The team laced up their sneakers and simply ran the landscape. Within a few miles the team encountered their first family of moose. The trip was enhanced immediately by the decision to stay in a hostel. The teams cooked their own meals, helped out around the house, and met some great people during their stay.

After visiting Denali National Park, relaxing in the Alaskan Hot Springs, and sitting on Santa’s lap, it was time to return to Honolulu. The seven-hour drive from Fairbanks to Anchorage was a time to reflect, bond, and dance.

The teams picked up right where they left off, holding pasta dinners the night before races, barbequing at a team members house, volunteering at the Windward Half Marathon, and camping on the North Shore. One of the social highlights of the season was a team members birthday party where the team had the opportunity to go horseback riding at Koko Crater.

While the team undoubtedly plays hard, it works even harder. Rising at 6 a.m. can be a task in and of itself, never mind running six miles up Tantalus (15 miles in total) at under six minute per mile pace. There is no question that this years squads are poised and ready to achieve greatness this fall. Therefore, if you see a cross country member relaxing at the beach at 8 a.m., just remember they have already run upwards of 15 miles that morning.




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