The Eastside Cross Country Team with coaches (Hai Tran, Jasmine Kelly-Pierce, and Cal Trembath) after the ParkRun event. Photo courtesy of Elder Enriquez.

Eastside Cross Country Team Starts the Weekend by Participating in a 5k Byxbee Parkrun Event

September 20, 2021

On Sept. 18, 11 runners from the Eastside Cross Country team joined the Byxbee Park run USA with coaches Cal Trembath, Hai Tran, and Jasmine Kelly-Pierce. They ran the 5K course alongside plenty of other community participants and a handful of cheering fans lending support.

Although it wasn’t an official race, for the cross country team, it served as one. Full of support, emotion and unity, the race provided an opportunity for runners to test their limits and push hard, in preparation for meets against other schools in the future.

“We learn how to race the more races we run,” said senior Alondra Zamora, who has noticed herself growing more fit over the past five weeks of practice. She said her teammates all looked strong and she looks forward to running more races and continuing to improve.

The run was part of a worldwide network of 5K events organized by Parkrun USA to build a sense of community and unity among participants.  Anyone may participate by scanning in a barcode that lets runners know the time and place for their run. The Eastside team took advantage of the opportunity.

The race was on a two-lap course, allowing runners to pass by each other and cheer each other on through encouraging words and hand signals.

Cross country team gathered around Coach Cal Trembath as he shares the last encouraging words of the day. (Photo by Diana Gomez)

Five weeks into the season, many of the 21 students on the Cross Country team have grown through their consistent practices, whether light jogs in the neighborhood and the Baylands, or long runs past the Baylands Golf Links, or more intense workouts on hills at Byxbee Park.

Freshman Angel Fernandez, who ran the whole race alongside Math teacher Hai Tran, was one of the many first-timers to take part in the event. Although he felt he wanted to give up at one point, he appreciated having Hai by his side, pushing him to finish strong.

“Especially during that last turn back, I really wanted to give up, my whole body wanted to,” Angel said. “ [Hai] said some words to me that really motivated me to keep going. And in the end, he was like, ‘You know, Angel, you keep pushing, and we just finished the race strong.’”

Seeing what he was able to accomplish by pushing through the hard parts left Angel filled with emotion.

“At the end, I felt so happy that I finished, I wanted to cry because I’ve never pushed myself that hard,” he said.

After the race, the team gathered to take pictures. Cross Country Coach Cal Trembath told everyone he loved what he saw individually in members, but also as a team, he loved the supportive energy during and after the race.

“I can’t imagine a better way to start off the weekend,” Cal said. “I’m worried that it’s kind of the peak of my weekend.”

For more information, go to @byxbeeparkrun on Instagram!


A few runners during the parkrun event starting strong. (Photo by Jocelyn Urbina)

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