Choose from these Cross Country Insurance Programs:
- Generic program for any team/league youth or adult (see rates for running)
- Camps & Clinics (see rates for Class 1 Sports for running)
- Insurance for hosted cross country meets
- Individual instructor insurance for coaches
What is Cross Country or XC Running?
Cross country running races are typically long distance runs over open country, not along roads or paths. Cross country, also known as cross-country running or XC, is a fall or winter sport. However amateur athletes or athletes in other sports often run cross country to keep fit and maintain or develop stamina. Six to nine participants make up a typical cross-country running team. Teams score points determined by runner placements, e.g. one point for first place, two points for second. The team with the lowest total wins.
Standard distances in international competition set by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) are not less than 7.5 miles for men and 1.25 to 3 miles for women. The varying difficulty of courses prevents the keeping of world records.
Recent Cross Country serious injuries and lawsuits in the news
- Runner hit by vehicle awarded $4.5M
- Pickup truck plows into group of runners and kills one at XC practice
- $5M lawsuit alleges sexual assault, bullying, hazing, and harassment.
- Runner suffers heat stroke and dies
Cross Country Risk Management
Many runners consider the varied terrain and mental challenge of pacing oneself over an ever-changing course more stimulating than road racing. But those appealing aspects also make it rough on runners, who need to be aware of the injury risks inherent with running cross country.
Below are potential risks to cross country athletes and how to avoid them during training and events
- Runners should not wear headsets for personal music players.
- Training should never take place in high-traffic areas.
- Whenever possible, athletes should run against the flow of traffic.
- Runners should always follow traffic rules when running on roadways.
- Be aware of changing weather conditions
Training on a track:
A sports track is intended for use by many athletes for both pleasure and recreational use. Injuries often occur when consideration isn’t given to all participants using the track during training.
- The maximum spike length in running shoes should not exceed 6mm on the track and 9mm on the field.
- The two inner lanes are not to be used for training.
- Joggers and athletes warming up/down should use the outside lanes.
- Recovery walks and walk backs should be done on the grass, not on the track.
- Run counter-clockwise around the track.
- The centre of the track should never be crossed when javelin/discus/shot put/hammer throwers are on site.
- Do not make sudden lane movements. The faster runner is responsible for shouting a warning for safe passing of the slower athlete.
- Younger/inexperienced athletes must be supervised by a coach at all times.
- Look both ways when crossing the track and allow track athletes to run through.
Training on roadways:
- Beware of vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and animals.
- Obey traffic signals, crosswalk signals.
- Beware of potholes, gravel/sand, and slippery or wet surfaces.
- Keep large groups off unpaved roads; especially if runners have different abilities.
Training off road:
- Beware of uneven ground, ditches, tree roots, loose stones and other tripping hazards.
- Keep alert for slippery surfaces (wet leaves, mud, moss), debris, low hanging branches, and animals (snakes in particular).
Injuries common among cross country runners
All runners risk impact or repetitive motion injuries. Running over irregular or slippery surfaces increases risks to cross country runners creating additional opportunities for acute injuries. Below is a partial list of common injuries seen among cross country runners of all ages.
- Stress fractures arise from overuse injuries and often occur in the weight-bearing shin and foot bones due to repeated stress and force over time.
- Shin splints are caused by overtraining. They are inflammation of the connective tissue between the shin bone and calf muscles. Girls and women are more susceptible to shin splints and once they have them, they’re about three times as likely as men to develop stress fractures in the future.
- Achilles tendon injuries often occur when runners make pushing-off movements. Strains, tears or ruptures to an Achilles tendon result most often from tight calf muscles, though a poor choice of footwear may be a contributing factor.
- Plantar fasciitis is an overuse injury affecting the arch of the foot. Repeated, tiny tears in the fascia that runs alongside the bottom of the foot result in inflammation and pain. In long-distance runners, these tears don’t get a chance to heal. The stiffness and pain subside with movement, but symptoms return daily until the injury fully heals.
- Runner’s knee is an overuse injury, which involves friction that erodes the cartilage and leads to osteoarthritis. Misalignment of the knee joint frequently causes runner’s knee, but repetitive, high-impact motion that puts stress on the knees often exacerbates it.
- Muscle, ligament and tendon strains or pulled muscles are soft tissue injuries caused by over-stretching, pivoting, jumping, shifting weight from side to side, speeding up, and slowing down.
- Heat illness and dehydration are common risks to cross country runners and require immediate attention. Staying hydrated protects cartilage and prevents soft tissue injury and heat illness.
Preventing Cross Country Running Injuries
- Stretching is needed to keep joints, bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments healthy.
- Warming up and cooling down are necessary to prevent overstretching or tearing of muscles and tendons.
- Wearing proper, well-fitting shoes is key in preventing blisters and lowering the risk of orthopedic injuries. Keeping laces tied tightly or double-knotted helps prevent tripping.
- Maintaining a healthy diet and staying hydrated are essential. Runners prefer keeping their weight low, but consuming too few calories can be harmful. Calories fuel the body and water is essential before and after running, especially in the heat.
Sadler’s in-house risk management programs that apply to cross country:
- Lightning Safety And 30/30 Rule
- Sadler Safe Sports Child Abuse Protection Plan
- Heat Illness Avoidance And Prevention
- Sample Minor Waiver/Release Form
How to get a quote
If you are ready for a quote or want to apply for insurance, scroll up to “Choose from these Cross Country Insurance Programs” and click on the applicable link.
- Roadrunners Club of America
- Coastal Orthopedics, “Cross Country Running: Risks and Injury Prevention”