Cross country teaches Vivian McMahon the importance of team community


Contributed by Vivian McMahon

Senior Vivian McMahon has learned the importance of team community and other valuable lessons from cross country.

When senior Vivian McMahon ran, she was aware of the wind racing around her, her feet pounding the ground, the energy coursing through her veins and, most importantly, her teammates surrounding her.

McMahon has been running cross country since she was in 5th grade. She started running more competitively once she got to high school and earned the position of captain this year. Besides being something that she enjoys, cross country has taught McMahon many valuable lessons and the importance of a strong team community.

During her many years running cross country, McMahon has been able to achieve impressive feats.

“I was able to win the division title in 2018. That was one of my proudest moments, and it’s also something I’ll remember for a long time,” McMahon said. “I worked very hard, and my team worked very hard, and it all paid off in the end.”

However, running has not always been easy for McMahon. She sustained two serious injuries at the end of her sophomore year, which affected how she views cross country.

“I had been over-training and doing more than what I was asked to do from my coaches. During one of my races, I broke my foot and I eventually had a torn hamstring,” McMahon said. “At that point in time, I really stopped enjoying running, and I think that was my most frustrating and hard period.”

McMahon is now fully recovered from these injuries and she said the recovery process taught her how to take care of herself while running.

“I learned to be patient with myself and body and fully heal. Now that I’m fully healthy, it feels good to be on the other side of that challenge,” McMahon said.

McMahon’s teammates have always been important to her, but she has especially appreciated them since the beginning of the pandemic.

“COVID-19 made me appreciate the little things, like my teammates and being able to run and compete together,” McMahon said. “I didn’t realize before COVID how important they were to me, and how important they are to me right now, and how much they’ve done for me these past few years.”

Community has always been important to McMahon, but it’s especially important to her now that she’s captain. She was worried about COVID-19 making it difficult for people to bond, but she and her teammates persevered.

“I was very nervous, because I wasn’t really sure what to expect for this season, but we were able to hold practices properly socially distanced. We were able to have team dinners and events outside, and we were able to spend time together at meets,” McMahon said.

Senior Sonja Nagle said McMahon always made sure everyone’s talents were properly acknowledged.

“When I first joined running, my coach didn’t know if I was a good runner,” Nagle said. “Vivian was like, ‘Dude, no, she’s really good,’ and I remember constantly during my freshman year she was making sure that I got pulled up to the higher levels.”

Another one of McMahon’s teammates, sophomore Camille Jordan, said McMahon always makes sure that everyone knows how important they are to the team.

“After our senior race, Vivian came up to me and told me how much I helped her during the race and how she was thankful to have me on the team even though I didn’t have my best race,” Jordan said.

McMahon is looking forward to all the opportunities the future holds for her.

“I am going to compete in cross country and track in college, which I’m definitely very excited and a little nervous about,” McMahon said. “But I’m beyond fortunate to be able to continue running in such a competitive atmosphere with such talented runners.”