I think it would depend on where in the pack you start. My friend who ran competitive cross country in college warned me there is a lot of pushing and shoving as people fight to get onto the trail first, and it might be like that up front. When I ran an X-C race a couple weeks back, starting MOP, the race was really pretty civilized -- sure, there were people passing and being passed, but sans bloodshed. (Of course, there were only about 300 people in the race, versus the 2,000-7,000 that road races in my area draw, so maybe that's why it was more civil ...)
Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.
To give you an example of a physical instance.
Our number two runner was 400 meters away from the finish line, and starting his surge. He was 33rd at the time of the incident(top 30 make it to state championships). Anyway, another kid from a school in the same town, pushed him into a tree, while he was in a full-on sprint, and since no officail saw it, they couldn't do anything about it.
He lost his chance to go to state.
What? That's crazy. Was he okay? Wow that's some good info. Are the race officials lined up along the course or only in specific areas like one per mile or something?
Cross country races are usually from 3 miles to 10K long and are often run along wooded paths so it's not really possible for there to be officials in view of many parts of the course. Usually there is someone at the mile marks reading out split times. I have heard of shenanigans that have occured (mainly in boys high school events) but I never witnessed any real physicality when I ran cross country in high school and college. I have seen much more elbowing, pushing, and tripping on the track where things tend to be much tighter at the start and around turns.
At the start of a crowded race it can be very physical as everyone vies for the front of the pack. At D3 nationals one year there was quite a pile up, which blocked about half the field from advancing and resulted in many runners getting stepped on. Keep in mind that runners were wearing spikes and at least one runner got it in the head. He did finish the race. Even later in the race things can get heated. I saw a punch thrown after one runner grabbed another runner by the shoulder to get past. I have also seen one runner use another runner's ankle to pull himself up a very steep, muddy hill. None of this is typical. I ran probably 75 races and watched a lot more than that and rarely is there anything worse than some jostling.
well i think it depends on where you are in the race, at the begining is where all of it happens mostly elbowing maybe some shoving..remember its okay as long as it is not EXCESSIVE
Just watch out for people trying to spike you. it could be on purpose or by accident!
Step on/Kick you intentionally (sometimes unintentionaly) with the spikes on the bottom of their shoes.
Mardi Gras Marathon 2009- 2:15:23
Next Race Up----To Be Determined.....lol
Ouch! Watch out. That's what I figured but was hoping that wasn't the case. Sounds like things can get ugly in the beginning of the race.
I depends on how narrow the trail is... people generally dont mean to push and shove during a race but if the trails narrow just be aware of the people around you... the worse thing that could happen is you fall (or lose depending on your goals) in which case you get up... typically i dont get pushed so much as people step on my heels or we smack arms
When I ran cross country I never had any problems with it. ofcourse I was very small and weaved around people easily. Sometimes at the beginning of the race it can be elbow to elbow.I compared it with a heard of elephants at big meets. So I'm sure there will be a little elbowing going on. I had a friend that fell and all the girls ran over her with theis spiked shoes. I felt so sorry for her.
As others have said: it really depends on the race. If anyone has seen the start of a race a the Woodbridge Invitational in Irvine,CA they know what I'm talking about. 300 runners per race and in the first 400m the course bottlenecks so people usually get pushed and fall. Some races have a course that is nice and wide with around 100 runners so there's no need to fight for your spot. There are three ways to get around the pushing and shoving in any race though:
#1 don't race, but why would you be there if you didn't want to race right? =P
#2 get out in front and don't fall =/
#3 get in the back and just worry about not stepping on those who have fallen XD
Wow is it ever...!!!!!! I ran competitve cross country in college and it seemed like a never ending shoving and elbowing match... I usually raced in the top 10 of the pack, there we had the kenyans from arkansas who elbowed constantly especially around the turns... its like a chess match and all about positioning. My advice is get out quick and stay at a steady pace after the 1st mile...Hard, steady, hard