There was a palpable buzz of excitement at Windermere School recently, when a record-breaking number of runners arrived at the Elleray Campus for the annual Inter-Schools’ Cross- Country event.
Despite the blustery conditions, five hundred and fifty-two runners from twenty-six schools across South Cumbria and Lancashire turned up to tackle Elleray’s challenging courses, cheered on by well over one hundred spectators.
The event once again provided a challenging and thrilling afternoon of races. From the moment the children began to arrive, there was an exciting atmosphere around Elleray, as runners walked the course to familiarise themselves with their surroundings and plot their race strategies.
The first race of the afternoon was the Girls’ U10 race, and all the runners showed tremendous spirit in what was, for many, their first taste of competitive running. A superb run from Willow Rigg (Dean Gibson School) saw her finish ahead of Windermere School’s Libby Pilkington, with Ruby Duxbury (Ghyllside) finishing in third place. Good performances from Daisy Lees, who finished in 7th place, Anna Roberts in 13th and Cara Bradley in 15th saw Ghyllside win the Girls’ U10 Shield.
The U10 Boys’ race was equally exciting, with Tom Ashworth (Ambleside School) running a fantastic race to cross the line in first place. Harvey Shaw (Lindale School) finished in second place, ahead of Oscar Davies from Lindale School. Ghyllside were again crowned champions with superb runs from Joseff Tancrell, who finished in 5th place, Evan Gore in 6th, Ewan Black in 8th and Toby Acland in 10th.
The penultimate race of the afternoon was the U11 Girl’s race. The leading positions were dominated by runners from St. Thomas’s, with Lara Smith finishing in 2nd place, Hester Metcalfe in 4th, Madeleine Martindale in 5th and Charlotte Stainer in 7th, meaning St. Thomas’s went away with the Girls’ U11 Shield. Superb running from Kate Collin from St. Mark’s saw her cross the line in first place, while Eve Longden from Crosthwaite finished in third place.
The final event was the U11 Boy’s race and the spectators were not disappointed. St. Thomas’s once again dominated the leading positions, leaving with the Boys’ U11 Shield. A superb run from Matti Ligema (Langdale School) saw him take first place, followed by Leo Ranner and Josh Todd from St Thomas’s, ably supported by fellow pupils, Stanley Metcalfe and James Briggs.
Following the races, all the runners enjoyed a burger before the individual medals and team shields were presented by the Headmaster of Windermere School, Ian Lavender.
Sarah Whitehead, Head of Physical Education at Elleray, organised the event and was full of praise for everyone involved; “We have enjoyed some wonderful racing and all those who have taken part should feel very proud of themselves. This is a tough course which requires real determination.
Also, I would like to thank everyone else who has helped to make the afternoon a real success –the team managers, marshals, hares, scorers, first aiders, maintenance and grounds staff, office staff and of course, our catering team.”
Rachael Thomas, Head of the Elleray Campus, added; “It’s been a truly entertaining afternoon at Elleray. We have witnessed some incredible races, as well as a huge helping of courage and determination. It just leaves me to say ‘Well done’ to all those who took part – you should feel very proud of yourselves.”