House Cross Country

The first inter-house competition of the year was held on the 5th of October. For many, it was the first time that they had seen as many students and staff as there were, standing proudly alongside their houses—an engulfing sense of unity swept the campus. 

I walked to the back of Main Hall early and saw the House Captains rallying students to their houses. There were the Teresa leaders, waving blue flags pointed towards the blue sky. I walked onto the meadow, the green grass dotted with the green flags of Mandela, and the daunting hill ahead was illuminated by the yellow sun—this complimented Gandhi’s yellow gold. Then, there were the bold red sparks of colour of those who were dressed in Pankhurst’s blazing red. It was quite the spectacle to behold! 

As the start neared endlessly, the tension between those amassed at flagpoles of the four houses swept over the field; they shifted in unity towards the start, ready to show their dedication to their house and their community. Warm-ups and cheers before the race gave rise to their willingness to push forward. When the time came, everyone in Lower School—across all forms, across all houses—stood readily on the starting line. 

The starting gun roared through the frigid air, but it’s echoes were soon submerged by the runners’ earth-shaking footsteps. Though it was very crowded at the start, the differing paces at which the students ran guided the mass of competitors into a long line that wove along the tricky path that was set out ahead of them. Within minutes, runners stepped off campus and onto the paths that they rarely trod upon. 

Soon after I advanced onto the hillside field, I tripped on a small rock—this compelled me to slow down. Then, as I neared to the seemingly never-ending uphill segment, people around me who had been running determinedly began to slow down. They started jogging, and eventually walked. One, two, three… more and more people dropped their pace. But when I turned back, there were still a lot of people who purposefully kept their speed, pushing forward against the stern challenge. 

Many people expected that after the halfway point, at which the course was downhill, it would be time for their struggles to end, that it would be more relaxing—this was an assumption that they let go of minutes later. Mud filled our shoes, and the burden on our feet became heavier and heavier. But we kept running. I believe that it is the faith in their house that kept everyone running and moving towards the end, towards their victory. 

Most students, including me, are not athletes. The end point is victory in terms of our own goals. Whether or not you placed highly didn’t matter—it was a glorious achievement for everyone that we crossed the end, with our passion, our faith, and our belief that we are the best. That our house is the best, and that we all have so much to gain from challenging ourselves. 

There was only one winning house, but in inter-house cross country, everyone shares the triumph—together with mud, sweat and the feeling of achievement. When they crossed the finish line, their friends, teachers and all the staff cheer for their extraordinary effort. It was a challenge, but a challenge that was relished by all. 

 Jackie F5