When the fall colors appear, it’s time for students to break out their jeans and jackets. But not the Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams. They can be seen in all types of weather wearing the minimal amount of clothing: always shorts, t-shirts for girls (sometimes a long sleeve) and shirtless for men.
“It’s usually a personal preference” Karyn Genrich states from the Women’s team. "Sometimes people like to wear things to keep warm, but when racing, for me, the more I wear the more annoyed I get. Plus since our races are longer, if something you wear gets uncomfortable during the race, then it can distract you.”
Between being cold and nearly naked versus warm and bundled up, she says “we get warm enough during the race anyway. It’s not like sprinting where you need every single muscle to be warm before you start since you have such a limited performance time. And I mean, almost all of my coaches use the rule of thumb as ‘you should always be sweating when you are on the starting line.’ So the warm up stuff we do warms us up enough that in between having to take off our warm up clothes and waiting for the start of the race, our muscles don’t completely cool off.”
For the men it’s a slightly different story. They follow the same basic principles but still raise eyebrows running through campus shirtless and in shorts when it’s well below shorts weather. “It’s to be tough” one former runner states. “I wore long sleeves and pants when it was below 50, and was called the more vulgar term of a ‘female reproductive organ’ for it.”
So wearing less and bearing the elements is one way of showing their manly toughness. This is also seen in general on campus with men wearing a t-shirt when it’s warm jacket weather. This continues to be a trend for men, as well as a symbol of their toughness. “It’s showing off their masculinity by being stupid” one track runner states.