Gateway, Chartridge and Our Lady’s 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 to be held between October - April. Eighteen schools took part with 650 children representing their school.
Seventy two runners were selected to run for Gateway with 62 available to run on the day.
There are 8 separate races during the morning. Year 3 and 4 compete over a 1350m and the 5 and 6s over a 1650m course. All runners have to cope with a long (200m) steady climb at the ½ way stage. Conditions, on the morning, were good with a light breeze cooling the runners.
Medals are 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.
Mrs La Farge and a large contingent of Gateway staff and parents were there helping to organise the children amid a sea of spectators at the start and finishing lines.
There were 103 runners in this event and many of these children were running their first competitive race. It is always hard to resist the urge to sprint off with the ‘crowd’, despite parental and school guidance to ‘pace yourself’. This leads to a quickly changing lead as many runners fade on the hill. There were several strong performances, Kasper B was very impressive coming 4th. Charlie B-M and Remy F found the course a little more challenging, especially the hill, but did well to come 21st and 42nd, finishing in Team 5th position.
Eighty three Year 3 girls also found this a testing course and this experience will help them in their next race, in November. Many competitors did well just to complete the course. Macey B was the first Gateway runner back, coming 18th, then Caille W, 23rd and Ellson S 35th. This group of girls came 7th; a respectable start to the season, considering their inexperience.
In the third race of the day, (Year 4 Boys; 95 runners), Zach C chased down the early leaders, pacing himself maturely, to take the lead with 150m to go and despite a late charge for the line he out sprinted the Gerrards Cross runner to win by 7m. Ed S followed close behind in 10th and Johnny G showed his improving stamina, finishing 22nd, despite being pulled to the ground, in the final rush to the line. These boys finished in Bronze position, losing Silver place by just 1 point! This result may be upgraded to Silver in the near future.
The girls performance mirrored the boys; Katie A taking the lead in the early part of the hill climb. With several Godstowe runners in the chasing group, she was urged on by Mr Wallace and Mr Grosse and she was still leading at the top of the hill; she maintained her pace and celebrated her first Gold of the season. Charlotte G was delighted to grab an individual medal, coming 10th and Darcey Y also had a great run finishing in 15th (2 places better than last year). The girls were awarded Team Silver There were 83 runners in this race.
Kie W was the first runner back in the Yr 5 boys race coming 25th, with ‘newcomers’ Noah B and Henry L showing improving fitness, coming 35th and 36th. This team finished in 6th place.
In the girls’ competition, Josie R showed that she is returning to her best form, coming 6th after a really gritty run against top class opposition. Beth T was not far behind, finishing 10th and Olivia P was 21st; a 10 place improvement, on last year’s event. This team won Team Bronze, narrowly missing Silver.
In the Yr 6 race, Will St C-B, also returned to top form, staying on the pace and positioning himself well. He was strong on the hill and finished fast, impressing in 3rd and winning Bronze. George C also ran superbly coming 6th, for the second year in a row. Will Sl showed great determination holding on to come 22nd in a crowded finish. (71 runners)
In the girls’ event, Marea L chose to run her own tactical race, by going off quickly in an attempt to break the pursuing runners. She maintained her pace and ‘attacked’ up the hill holding on comfortably to take Gold for the first time, after several years of training at school and with her running club. Penny D dug deep to win an individual medal in 10th with Savarnah P, returning from injury, showed great form in 12th. This team were awarded Team Silver (52 runners)
Well done to all the children who turned up to run for the school, many for the first time, as it can be a daunting experience. Thanks to all the parents for supporting the children and to those, including staff, who helped marshal the course, warm up the children and tidy away all the equipment so efficiently, after the racing finished.
The next competition will be held at Hervines Park, Amersham, 18 November (with the same start times and race order). Please keep an eye on the Sports Notice Board for team selection and race information nearer this date. Selected runners will all receive an confirmation email with all the details, as usual. HJ
Future local schools’ cross country dates
Saturday 18 November - Lowndes Park, Chesham
Saturday 27 January - Hervines Park, Amersham