Why is it that when we ran in HS we had fans (parents) screaming at us to run hard but in college 8k’s, our fan base is crap? It’s funny because in high school Johnny in the JV race has 50+ parents screaming at him to keep going so he can break 20min in the 5k and beat the kid next to him from the high school rival. Even if you’re in the varsity race and you’re one of the top guys running 15-17 mins for 5k let’s say, you might get 50 parents screaming too.
Then the same runner is fitter than ever after HS and running competitively at the college level but maybe is only a 24-27min 8k guy (just picking a general range), BUT his fan base and support to push himself over the hill and beat the guy in front of him is practically non-existent. Instead he’s stuck running 4:55-5:30 min miles with only his Sub varsity teammates and maybe his poorly paid NCAA college coach and volunteer assistant coaches to cheer him on.
How does this lack of support factor into people’s decision to continue to take running seriously as they get to college age? I ask because the main thing I remember about racing in college was that I was fitter than ever but that it didn’t feel as serious since it was a lot quieter racing around in the woods without many fans at all cheering us on.
I imagine though at the top top d1 levels (Stanford Oregon Colorado etc) that the fan base support can be a little more like it was for the competitive high school runner. But probably it’s just the d1 women’s team cheering him on as there will be minimal parents traveling to watch and the students obviously aren’t coming to watch and cheer (but maybe at a university of Oregon ducks Home XC meet they would?)