Perhaps a sign for the times is in order

By Carol Walker

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I think a new sign should be erected, maybe next to the existing sign on the corner of East Main St. and Major Lake Dr. that announces Hill City High School as the state track champions of 1998. The new sign could recognize the accomplishments of the Hill City girls and coaches in winning the state cross-country meet this month at Hart Ranch. Way to go girls.

I remember well the years when Jake Christenson, Jeff Williamson and Matt Coy and other teammates were running cross country and track meets because our son was also running but for the Custer team, and the Hill City guys were always on his radar. Our son worked hard and ran well, as did many on the Custer and Hill City teams, but there was something about Jake’s running that was fluid, with seemingly no unnecessary motion except the movement forward, with control and speed. He was a natural. Unfortunately, I did not get to any of the cross-country meets for Hill City this year, but I wish I had been at the state meet to witness their triumph. If you have never been to a meet, you must realize that you can get a workout as a spectator as you first watch them take off, run to other vantage points to cheer them on and finally hurry to the finish line to be there when the runners come in.

High school cross-country runners are usually a group of highly motivated, self-disciplined kids who work hard and generally are all-around good kids. I can only assume it is true for the Hill City girls. Although they are generally competing against themselves for a better time at each meet, there is a camaraderie that develops as they work out and run together.

It is a sport they can continue for a lifetime which will enhance their health and well being over the years. Watching kids run there was a time many years ago that I was inspired to give it a try, but the summer I worked on it, I realized my knees were not happy with me. So I stuck to walking, but both running and walking are touted to develop physical strength, ward off disease and enhance wellness.

Walking can reduce the risk of colon and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and can alleviate high blood pressure. Running can do the same but takes it further in stabilizing ligaments, making a person less susceptible to sprains. It works out abdominal muscles, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, calf muscles and hip flexors. Running burns more calories than walking does, so for someone wanting to lose weight, it seems to work better.

Both walking and running release endorphins into a person’s system which improves a person’s mood, contributing to better mental health and even better concentration. Also, whether a person runs or walks, the risk of heart disease drops. I also like the fact that both activities require no equipment, except a decent pair of shoes.

There is no excuse for us because we have a beautiful new track, thanks to Mike Welu’s leadership in raising the funds for it, and we have the Mickelson Trail at our doorstep. Both locations are good surfaces for running and walking.

Take inspiration from the Hill City girls’ cross country team, grab a friend or a dog and get out and run or walk. We may never get recognized with a sign, but the benefits make it well worth it.

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