Gateway and Chalfont St Peter hosted the first local South Bucks schools’ cross-country meet of the season, held at RAF Halton. This is the first of four local events. Saturday’s meet was brought forward from its usual spot in mid-October meaning that several schools and many individual children were unable to attend, due to prior commitments; despite this, there were still 14 schools ready to battle it out.
There are eight separate races during the morning. Year 3 and 4 competed over a 1200m and Year 5 and 6 over a 1500m course. All runners have to cope with a long (200m) steady climb at the ½ way stage. Conditions were ideal for running with bright sunshine and a cool breeze. Hundreds of spectators helped to create a really good atmosphere by cheering on the runners from all the schools.
Medals were awarded to the top ten finishers in each race. Team positions are calculated by adding the scores of the top three runners from each school with medals being awarded to the first four schools.
In the first race of the day (Year 3 Boys), many of the squad found the going tough not knowing quite how to pace themselves, having only run this distance once this term. Thomas St C-B pushed himself hard to stay in touch with the leading pack, coming 12th, Daniel M was 20th and Savva N 32nd.
Josie R led the field for much of her race, only to be pipped in the final sprint. It was a remarkable effort for her first competitive run. Matilda N and Olivia P were not far behind, coming 29th and 31st respectively. This team were awarded 4th place medals.
In the Year 4 competition, William SC-B ran superbly to finish 8th. George C was 14th and Henry G was 29th. Penny D ran well to come in 14th in the girls’ race despite suffering from stitch half way round. Marea L , who continues to improve, came 18th and Amber O finished 26th , helping to secure 4th place medals.
The Year 5 boys’ team was at full strength and did not disappoint. Oakley D, who won this race in Year 3 but was unavailable to compete in Year 4, recaptured the top spot by leading from start to finish to win gold. He was pursued closely for much of the run but finally pulled away with 100m to go. Oliver L ran extremely well to finish in 6th and Harry N was close behind in 8th (a big improvement on his 20th place last year). All of the squad finished in top 20 positions and were pleased to find out that they had won team gold!
The Year 5 girls’ team is also a strong squad, and won gold last year, but unfortunately only Jemma T was available to run this time out, due to the date change. She gave a gutsy performance and was in 4th place for much of the race but pulled up feeling sick with just 200m to go.
Last year, Cormac N won his race in a sprint finish and it looked like he was going to retain his title when he moved into second position with 300m to go. Unfortunately, he lost out in the final 80m when a Great Missenden runner made a determined kick for home, opening up a 5m lead. Alex P (7th) and Brandon N-T ( 9th) also won individual medals and silver position in the team event. Several other team members recorded personal bests which is encouraging. Daisy S showed tremendous determination to finish in 7th place in the Year 6 girls’ event; Jessica C, Georgia M and Eva B were just outside medal positions in 13th, 14thand 15th. Their effort was rewarded with team bronze.
Well done to all the runners who turned up to run for the school, many for the first time. It was a fantastic morning with lots of great performances and lots of personal bests, throughout the squad. Thanks to all the parents for supporting the children and everyone who helped Gateway staff to dismantle the course and tidy up after the racing was over.
The next inter school event will be held at Chartridge Junior School, Saturday 21 November, with the same start times and race order so please keep an eye on the Sports’ Notice Board for team selection and race information nearer the date. Selected runners will all receive an information letter, as usual. (HJ)