Cross country running

Cross country running is a sport in which teams and individuals run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain such as dirt or grass. Sometimes the runners are referred to as harriers; the course 4–12 kilometres long, may include surfaces of grass, earth, pass through woodlands and open country, include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road. It is both a team sport. Both men and women of all ages compete in cross country, which takes place during autumn and winter, can include weather conditions of rain, snow or hail, a wide range of temperatures. Cross country running is one of the disciplines under the umbrella sport of athletics, is a natural terrain version of long-distance track and road running. Although open-air running competitions are pre-historic, the rules and traditions of cross country racing emerged in Britain; the English championship became the first national competition in 1876 and the International Cross Country Championships was held for the first time in 1903. Since 1973 the foremost elite competition has been the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.

Cross country courses are laid out on an woodland area. The IAAF recommends that courses be grass-covered, have rolling terrain with frequent but smooth turns. Courses consist of one or more loops, with a long straight at the start and another leading to the finish line. Terrain can vary from open fields to forest hills and across rivers, it includes running down and up hills. Because of variations in conditions, international standardization of cross country courses is impossible, not desirable. Part of cross country running's appeal is the distinct characteristics of each venue's terrain and weather, as in other outdoor sports like motor racing and golf. According to the IAAF, an ideal cross country course has a loop of 1,750 to 2,000 metres laid out on an open or wooded land, it should be covered by grass, as much as possible, include rolling hills "with smooth curves and short straights". While it is acceptable for local conditions to make dirt or snow the primary surface, courses should minimize running on roads or other macadamized paths.

Parks and golf courses provide suitable locations. While a course may include natural or artificial obstacles, cross country courses support continuous running, do not require climbing over high barriers, through deep ditches, or fighting through the underbrush, as do military-style assault courses. A course at least 5 metres full allows competitors to pass others during the race. Clear markings keep competitors from making wrong turns, spectators from interfering with the competition. Markings may include tape or ribbon on both sides of the course, chalk or paint on the ground, or cones; some classes use colored flags to indicate directions: red flags for left turns, yellow flags for right turns, blue flags to continue straight or stay within ten feet of the flag. Courses commonly include distance markings at each kilometer or each mile; the course should have 400 to 1,200 m of level terrain before the first turn, to reduce contact and congestion at the start. However, many courses at smaller competitions have their first turn after a much shorter distance.

Courses for international competitions consist of a loop between 2000 meters. Athletes complete three to six loops, depending on the race. Senior men and women compete on a 10 kilometre course. Junior men compete on an 8-kilometre course and junior women compete on a 6-kilometre course. In the United States, college men compete on 8 km or 10 km courses, while college women race for 5 km or 6 km. High school courses are 5 km. Middle school courses are 1.5 mi or 2 mi long. All runners start at the same time, from a starting arc marked with lines or boxes for each team or individual. An official, 50 meters or more in front of the starting line, fires a pistol to indicate the start. If runners collide and fall within the first 100 meters, officials can call the runners back and restart the race, however this is done only once. Crossing the line or starting before the starting pistol is fired is considered a false start and most results in disqualification of the runner; the course ends at a finish line located at the beginning of a funnel or chute that keeps athletes single-file in order of finish and facilitates accurate scoring.

Depending on the timing and scoring system, finish officials may collect a small slip from each runner's bib, to keep track of finishing positions. An alternative method is to have four officials in two pairs. In the first pair, one official reads out numbers of finishers and the other records them. In the second pair, one official reads out times for the other to record. At the end of the race, the two lists are joined along with information from the entry information; the primary disadvantage of this system is that distractions can upset the results when scores of runners finish close together. Chip timing has grown in popularity to increase accuracy and decrease the number of officials required at the finish line; each runner attaches a transponder with RFID to her shoe. When the runner crosses the finish line, an electronic pad records the chip number and matches the runner to a database. Chip timing allows officials to use checkpoint mats throughout the race to calculate split times, to ensure runners cover the entire course.

This is by far the most efficient method, although it is the most exp

Tomislav Ivančić

Tomislav Ivančić was a Croatian theologian and academic. Ivančić was born in Croatia. After the study of philosophy and theology in Zagreb and Rome he was ordained priest of the Zagreb Archdiocese in 1966. After achieving a doctorate at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome, he returned to Zagreb to become professor at the Catholic-Theological Faculty of the University of Zagreb, he was head of the Chair of Fundamental Theology, one of the editors of the magazine “Bogoslovska smotra”, member of the editorial boards and associate of many Croatian and foreign theology magazines and member of the Croatian Literary Translators’ Association. Since 1983 he was canon of Zagreb’s Cathedral Chapter; the areas of his scientific work are philosophy and literature. The area of his special interest is the research of men’s existential-spiritual dimension, in which he was discovering new possibilities and ways of modern evangelisation and the need of developing spiritual medicine, which - next to somatic and psychiatric medicine - is indispensable in the holistic healing of man, in healing spiritual illnesses and addictions.

For this purpose he developed the method of hagiotherapy and founded the Centre for Spiritual Help in 1990 in Zagreb, which he was the head of. Apart from working at the Faculty, since 1971 Tomislav was a religious teacher for students in Zagreb, the initiator of the prayer movement in the Church in Croatia, founder of the religious community “Prayer and Word” and the “Centre for a Better World”, as well as lecturer at numerous seminars for the spiritual renewal in Croatia and abroad. In the last decade he has been training persons to work in centres for spiritual help and hold seminars for the apostolate of evangelisation in Croatia and abroad, his scientific and expert articles are published in foreign magazines. He wrote more than 50 books, of which the half was translated into foreign languages, whereas some have been published only in foreign languages, his book “Follow Me” was translated in 12 languages. He was editor-in-chief of the magazine “Steps”, “New Steps”, as well as founder of the magazine “Hagiotherapy”.

From 1998 until 2001 he was dean of the Catholic Theological Faculty of the University of Zagreb. In September 2001 he was elected rector of the University of Zagreb, but he resigned in December 2001, due to illness. On 9 February 2004 Pope John Paul II designated him member of the International Theological Commission, presided over by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, after Pope Benedict XVI. Ivančić is author and host of a popular radio program “Lord, teach us to pray”, broadcast during the academic year, he died in Zagreb on 17 February 2017

Calathea makoyana

Calathea makoyana known as peacock plant or cathedral windows, is a species of plant belonging to the genus Calathea in the family Marantaceae, native to eastern Brazil. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Calathea makoyana is an evergreen perennial, growing to 45 cm, with round, glossy green leaves; the upper surfaces of the leaves are marked with dark green blotches along the veins, the lower surfaces coloured deep purple, with leaf shafts that are thin. When new leaves grow they are display their pinkish-red undersides. Like others in the genus, it has a horizontal soil stem, from which the plants grow up and the roots develop, it requires a minimum temperature of 16 °C, in temperate areas is cultivated as a houseplant. Like other "prayer plants", this plant raises and closes its leaves at night and opens them up again as dawn breaks, it grows in high humidity with temperature range between 22 and 24 °C. It should be provided with a coarse mulch of leaves and sand, soil that should be kept moist and misted throughout the summer months.

Liquid fertiliser must be added every 15 days. It needs shade or semi-shade as it cannot tolerate direct sunlight, since its leaves will become dulled and less vibrant, it must be watered with lukewarm water - preferably rainwater. In a dry environment, it can be attacked by the red spider mite that dries the tip of the leaves. Calathea roseopicta, a similar looking plant