Christiansburg runners cross the county
UPDATED 3:13 p.m.: The name of the road traveled on by the runners has been corrected.
In the movie “Forrest Gump,” the main character traveled by foot across the country simply because he felt like running.
The members of the Christiansburg High School cross country team likely woke up with a similar feeling Saturday morning, as they performed a scaled-down version of Mr. Gump’s feat in running across Montgomery County.
The runners of the fifth-annual Blue Demon’s Across the County Relay fundraiser began their trek at the Giles-Montgomery county line near Pandapas Pond shortly after 7 a.m., traveling U.S. 460 toward the Roanoke-Montgomery county line just outside of Elliston.
Coach Shane Guynn said his runners collected pledges for each mile the team would run that day and then were divided into groups by ability. The groups were tasked with running 2-mile intervals, passing a baton to the next group at each check point.
This, however, didn’t stop many of the more than 40 runners from continuing and running far more than the bare minimum.
Such was the case for senior Tony Deibler who said he put 14 miles on his running shoes that morning.
Deibler said he enjoyed the event not just for the running, but also because of the unifying experience it provided for him and his teammates.
His words were likely music to his coach’s ears, as Guynn said breaking down walls between his athletes prior to their first race was one of the main purposes of the day.
“It’s that solidifying team bonding event before you get into the season. It’s really cool,” Guynn said.
Guynn added that the bonding isn’t just limited to the athletes, but the event also gives the parents of runners an opportunity to meet and get to know one another as dozens lined the road at each of the two-mile meeting points to cheer on the team.
Not all those who participated were motivated by the sport or the bonding. For some, it was all about having a chance to show off their creative sides.
Guynn said this was the first year his team had took up the idea of doing themed runs and that each platoon of runners had their own theme.
For junior Michael Harris, who donned one of his old wrestling uniforms, the opportunity to dress up was his main motivation.
“If I didn’t have a chance to wear my singlet in public, I would not be here,” Harris said.
Harris wasn’t alone in embracing the idea of themed running, as he was surrounded by hula skirts, inflatable flamingos, cowboy hats, and the super-hero themed Christiansburg coaching staff.
While Guynn himself sported the Superman apparel, it was assistant coach Scott Guichard who looked like the man of steel Saturday. For a second straight year, Guichard ran every one of the 30 miles.
No matter their motivation, each team member and coach participated in the final two miles of the event, crossing the county line to the applause of friends of family just after noon.
The team then partook in what Deibler said was his favorite part of the event – the post race meal and celebration.
The Roanoke Times | 381-1643
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