On November 11 and 12 of 2022, four members of Redeemer University’s cross country team competed in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Cross-Country Running National Championships in Medicine Hat, Alberta. One of the four runners, Jakob Kramer, shared some of his experience, reflecting on the gift it was to be able to compete in a sport he loves this season;
“I was just really grateful I could compete this year, considering I was out for the whole season last year. This season, I had problems with shin splints, and two weeks before nationals I got a hamstring tear—I was just happy that I was able to finish. The goal wasn’t to compete or anything this year but just to have a healthy season, to finish races and be injury-free. That’s not what I did, but I’d say I am happy with how it went anyways.”
The team this year has seen some changes, and Kramer said he has been grateful to see the growth in leadership this season: “This year we had three new coaches as opposed to just Jeremy Parsons last year. They’ve all been very knowledgeable and have kept us accountable. But it wasn’t just a commitment to our physical training. While we had practices at 6 a.m. twice a week and at 9 a.m. every Saturday, they also integrated their faith really naturally. We’d always do a Bible reading and prayer before every practice, and at the end of each practice they’d get someone on the team to pray as well, which I really appreciated. For coaches working at Redeemer for their first time they have fit in seamlessly.
“At the first meet of the season, I made a joke to my coach about wanting a Big Mac. In response, she told me that she’d have one waiting for me at the finish line at nationals. At the end of my race at nationals, I was absolutely wiped—the course was tough and it was minus ten degrees outside. But there was my coach at the end, waiting for me at the finish line with a Big Mac. My coaches this year have been nothing but supportive and eager to get to know me.
“Being a student athlete has taught me many things. The biggest lesson I’ve learned coming out of these last two seasons is perseverance. I have struggled with a lot of injuries and it feels like my luck has always been against me. Last year I quit because of knee problems, and I was pretty frustrated because it felt like whenever I actually tried to focus on running I would get injured. But I learned to push through it, and I am excited for a new chapter of running, knowing that if there are any injuries or hardships I will be able to persevere by Christ alone. I’ve learned that this means to look at things from an outside perspective, to see that bad things are part of the process; it happened for a reason. It’s been important for me to keep that mindset whenever I’m in a bad situation, and that goes beyond athletics, as well.”