Cross country running is a running sport that takes place outside on varying terrains in which teams attempt to complete a course faster than one another.
Cross country originated in England from the Crick Run, held every year at Rugby School since 1837. It has since grown to be a popular participatory sport in junior and high school, as well as at colleges. Courses generally stretch 5 Kilometers, or approximately 3.1 miles. This distance is stretched to five miles for men in the collegiate ranks.
Before racing, teams will take part in moderate warm-up runs of about 10 minutes, followed by thorough stretching.
Races usually begin at a course's starting point, which is generally out in an open area of a field or pit. Each team is allotted an equal amount of space along the starting line, sometimes enough to fit an entire team. Sometimes, it's only enough space for only the team's top runners to actually start at the line. A race official will then sound a gun, whistle, horn or other startling audible device to signal the start of the race. At this point, runners take off, attempting to establish a good position in the sea of runners while maintaining a reasonable pace.