Cross country, down under

Avid cross-country runner and Neah-Kah-Nie High School Sophomore Montana Ruona took part in a series of races all the way in Australia, coming in 350th out of 35,000 contestants.

By Brian Cameron
“It was a pretty great experience,” said Ruona. “The people were really nice and even though it was their winter it was still in the mid-70’s, great for running.”
Ruona took part in the Down Under Sports invitational, an event that take youth from around the globe to compete in a variety of sports in Australia, in Ruona’s case she spent most of her time just north of the city of Brisbane, near Surfer’s Paradise to participate in two separate cross-country races.
The first race was a public event which saw a crowd of approximately 35,000 contestants compete in a 5K race, Ruona’s group was just a small portion of that number of people, but according to Runoa her results were pretty surprising.
“I know 35,000 is a lot of people but I ended up getting 350th for my age range,” said Ruona. “I think this trip taught me that I’m a better runner than I thought I was.”
The second race Ruona participated in was much less crowded as it was solely for Down Under Sports participants. Another 5K, the event was known as the “All American” race.
“Hopefully I can organize a ‘running through Europe’ campaign next year,” said Ruona. “But we’ll see how that fits with school.”
The contestants were treated to daily activities that took Ruona to places to view wild kangaroos and other austral flora and fauna. The entire trip lasted 10 days which involved two days recuperation in Hawaii, though according to Ruona it was not the nicest area of the island, but she used the opportunity to stay a few days with family in Los Angeles as well.
After the experience Ruona said she feels much more confident in her abilities as a cross-country athlete and hopes to take the experience and run with it.