I unpacked my stuff and began to get changed, listening out for my name and answering as instructed. Nervously I tightened my laces, my skin shivering involuntarily as we were ordered outside. As the air hit my skin, I felt the cold send a shiver up my spine as we marched in a single file, towards the beginning of a nightmare

Finally we reached the spot. We were separated into two groups. I was put into group B and watched as group A were taken away. I desperately wanted to leave but knew I didn’t dare – I’d heard the rumours.

Five minutes later and the tension had turned unbearable. How much longer were they going to make us wait? A droplet of sweat dribbled down my forehead and off my nose. What had I done to deserve this? What had any of us done to deserve this?

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I could see that I wasn’t the only one experiencing it. Nobody wanted to be there like me I expect they just wanted to be at home. I looked up and noticed notes being taken down I wondered what they were about maybe they were considering letting some of us off.

I wiped my hands on my shirt because sweat had built up on them, my ears were burning they had turned bright red; my mind had blocked everything out, my senses numb. I wanted to move about but my ability to do anything had gone, I was becoming anxious what if I didn’t make it? What if I’m last? All these questions running through my mind every second felt like and eternity. Then it was time… Group B were called up and after seeing group A begin I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.

We were put in a line, one next to the other. Standing next to someone called Darren, I saw he was ghost white, shaking like a leaf. He looked how I felt – did I look as bad as he did? Wouldn’t be surprised.

The tension was building up…I was so scared. Rubbing my hands together in an attempt to warm them up, didn’t work. Funny how you can sweat and yet be frozen at the same time. I couldn’t breathe and I struggled to get any air into my lungs. The butterflies in my stomach made me feel ill.

They began to explain, “Take short deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, ha-ha. I think it’s time Mr Smith!” laughed Mr Woods. “Don’t forget to stay in between the white lines or you’ll be doing it again!”

*BANG* *BANG*. It had started…

My heart was beating so hard it felt like it was going to jump out of my chest, all I could hear was the thumping beat. My legs felt like jelly, I was amazed that I was still standing. I was so cold, I tried thinking of a hot place to warm myself up, but no matter what I did my body couldn’t get warm. Things just kept getting worse, I was beginning to get cramp in my stomach like a knife had penetrated me.

I knew that I had to make it all the way. I couldn’t handle the embarrassment if I didn’t, soon Darren came up behind me and went past. I turned around to see 5 others hot on my trail, coming towards me like a steaming train, should I just fall over and pretend I couldn’t go on? That way it would look as if I had a chance. Trying to speed up wouldn’t help me I would be out of energy before I had even got half way round. I stayed on the shoulder of the person in front of me, using him as a pace maker he was my target.

I looked to my left and saw group A the stragglers slowly coming to an end, sir checking his watch. The distance wasn’t that far just take it slow save energy I thought to myself.

Looking straight ahead I blocked everything out my mind time to make this serious, humiliation was not an option. Soon I lost ground on my “pacemaker”. I can do better than this putting my head down I gave it everything I had with only 400 metres left it was all or nothing, I couldn’t feel my legs. My arms were aching, hands shaking. I saw Darren and the rest. Could I do it only time would tell… 300 metres came, it was taking so long. With every step I was making the space between me and Darren and the rest, smaller.

Everything was a blur I had to do this I couldn’t come last in cross country I closed my eyes ran straight ahead I knew the finish line was near I put my head forward stretched out as far as I could and then it was over…


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