This season, the Providence Cross Country team, coached by Keri Whitacker and made up of two men and six women, participated in four different college level races in September and October. Looking back at the season, most runners agree that this was a great year for the team.
The team raced at four different colleges in Southern California this fall—Redlands, Westmont, Cal Baptist, and Vanguard. The toughest race for the majority of the runners was Westmont because of the heat and the hills they faced. However, Emily De Beor, junior, felt that the Redlands race was the most difficult for her because it was the first race of the season and they were running on grass.
Some members of the team struggled with some injuries, but as Carissa Franceour, freshman, says, “It’s not about finishing first, it is about doing the best that we can while growing together as a group”. Many of her teammates would agree as this was a season where they all felt connected to their teammates.
The Providence Cross Country runners are— Sarah Fleeman, Candace Janzen, Gabby Cabel, Emily De Beor, Sarah Grimes, Ian Harriman, Jim Herrema, and Carissa Franceour. Their coach is the wonderful Keri Whitacker.
Perhaps finishing first is not the most important aspect of running for the team, but we’d still like to know their best times. “Do I have to answer that?” was senior, Sarah Fleeman’s response. The others responded with a rough estimate of their best times. Each race was a different distance with different terrains, so it was hard to know how to calculate a best time.
The teammates enjoy running for a variety of reasons. Some of them run in order to stay physically fit and de-stress at the end of the day. Others run for the competition or for the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the race. Candace Janzen, senior, runs because she says “I’m in so much pain while I run that I don’t have the energy to think on school or facts or homework, so it leaves lots of time just to ponder about clouds and mountains and footprints.”
Some of them began their running career at Providence and others began before college. De Beor, Janzen, Fleeman, Herrema, and Franceour began running shortly after coming to Providence. Grimes started running this summer in the mountains of Colorado. Harriman has been running since he was in 5th grade and Cabel began running her senior year of high school.
The Providence website claims that these cross country members run for the glory of God. The runners clearly live this out. Carissa Franceour, freshman, stated it best, “Since I had never been on a cross country team before, I had many preconceived ideas about what it would be like, but I quickly discovered that being a part of the Sea Beggar Cross Country is unlike any other athletic experience you will ever have the opportunity to experience. Being a part of Sea Beggar cross country is a unique experience, because unlike other athletic teams, the ultimate expectation is that the athletes do the best that they can, doing everything to the glory of God.”
It is clear that these runners can apply their Christian worldview even to something like running. Hebrews 12: 1-2 was a recurring theme for describing the runners’ experiences. Grimes said, “Although a physical action, I believe [by] actually putting your body through the running of a race, we get a perfect feeling of what the race set before us looks like, that is, persevering to the end, knowing the great hope before us. (In cross country, the Gatorade is at the end!) The physical struggle in running a race so perfectly connects to the race we all run, and to the sure hope, as Christians that we have at the finish line.”
Article co-written by Jolene Ybema and Marissa Branson