Distance running may be an individual discipline, but there’s no arguing against cross country is a team sport. The best XC teams at any level not only have strong top runners, but have depth among their other varsity athletes that allows them to close gaps and finish with miniscule point totals.
This concept of an ultimate cross country team got me thinking- what if there was a cross country team pulling only from characters from movies? So I’ve compiled a list of 12 characters (seven varsity runners, five reserves) that would be a force on the course. I’ve also included a coach, a course based from a movie set, and a uniform set. My rules include that each runner must be from a fictional movie (sorry Danny Diaz) and only one character per movie franchise can be chosen. Enjoy, and make sure to argue in the comments!
1- Forrest Gump, Forrest Gump– The most famous running character in cinematic history, Forrest Gump had the talent to star at Alabama, run across the country multiple times, and inspire a generation with the phrase “Run, Forrest, Run!” He figures to step in as our top runner.
2- Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins– Bruce Wayne, a.k.a. Batman, is in perhaps the greatest physical shape of any movie character without actual superpowers, and his reception to the League of Shadows training in Batman Begins bodes well for his summer mileage.
3- Dashiell “Dash” Parr, The Incredibles– Dash is so fast that he can run across water, and he would dominate the competition in cross country. Well, if his mom lets him try out for it.
4- King T’Challa, Black Panther– Even without the Heart-Shaped Herb, King T’Challa is built for the rigors of cross country and has proven his merit as a leader of a team. Plus, vibranium spikes would be pretty awesome.
5- Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens– Somehow, the female protagonist of the new Star Wars trilogy became an expert at lightsaber dueling just days after finding out she had the Force. Lazy plot device, or indicator that she’d transition brilliantly to cross country? You decide.
6- Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, The Sandlot– With a nickname like “The Jet,” it should be no surprise that this kid is a natural. He showed impressive speed and stamina in his effort to evade the Beast and doesn’t take trash talk from anyone. A born winner.
7- Ethan Hunt, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol– His mission, if he chooses to accept it, is to take on top competition on the cross country course. And given his experience scaling the Burj Khalifa, Hunt should be able to overcome even the most difficult of hills.
8- Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark– Yes, he was spurred on by a boulder rolling behind him in a cave, but the well-traveled Jones seemed to uncover a hidden talent with his iconic sprint. He’d be after the gold in no time.
9- Rocky Balboa, Rocky- There’s no questioning Rocky’s never-say-die attitude, and if he can go round-for-round with Apollo Creed, he’ll be as strong as anyone in the last mile. Just ignore his fist-raising tendencies at the top of each hill.
10- Chris Pratt, Jurassic World– Running with velociraptors seems like solid aerobic training, and if he can calm down dinosaurs, he is sure to be a calming presence on a running team.
11- Mulan, Mulan– What, you didn’t think a Disney princess would make the cut for the best cross country team? If she can be as swift as a coursing river on the course, she is sure to win.
12- Air Bud, Air Bud– What, you didn’t think a canine would make the cut? This dog has overcome the odds and impressed in basketball, football, soccer, baseball, and volleyball. What would prevent him from doing the same in cross country?
Honorable Mentions: Shrek, Ferris Bueller, Vito Corleone, Lara Croft, James Bond
Coach- Daniel Ocean, Ocean’s Eleven– This guy helped his team execute a heist of the most protected Las Vegas casino. He could steal first place next.
Course- Salzburg, Austria, Sound of Music– The hills will be alive, but this time for the sound of cross country spikes.
Uniform Set– Designer XC Uniforms by Edna Mode- They will be bold, dramatic, heroic, and, of course, have no capes.