A huge congratulations to Scarlett Evans (J4); Keira Hanks (J4); Cailan Turner (Remove F); Cicely Barnes (Shell G); Sophie Hillman-Green (L4R); Mary Welch (L5B) and Harry Gardner (U5M) who competed in ISA National Cross Country Championships at the weekend.

Read PE teacher Mr Tyler’s report on how the committed and determined runners got on…

On Saturday 27th February, seven students from Gad’s Hill made the long journey to Princethorpe College, Warwickshire to compete in the ISA National Cross Country Championships. All of the athletes competing had qualified through the regional race earlier in the year and as a result of their hard work were invited to represent London South in the competition.

The first race of the day involved two Gad’s Hill students – Scarlett Evans and Keira Hanks. Competing in their first national competition, both girls gave an excellent account of themselves and showed good maturity to pace their race better than others around them. The girls started cautiously, but gradually progressed through a large field of runners as the race went on. With 300m to go both Gad’s Hill girls were level, but it was Keira who showed good speed to finish in 44th position whilst Scarlett came home in 50th. With the experience of running in a national competition now behind them, both girls will be looking forward to next year’s event.

The next race to involve a Gad’s Hill student was the Year 5/6 race, in which Cailan Turner performed admirably to finish in 23rd position. Showing a mature knowledge of cross country running, Cailan set off at a good pace to hold a position in the front half of the field and he was able to maintain this for the majority of the race. His graft up the long hill halfway through the race allowed him to stay around 25th position and with a long downhill finish, Cailan was able to pass a few more runners before finishing in a very respectable 23rd position.

Immediately after the Year 5/6 race was the Year 7/8 girl’s competition and Gad’s Hill were once again represented by two athletes – Sophie Hillman-Green and Cicely Barnes. For the majority of the race Sophie and Cicely ran together, however on the long drag at the back of the course Sophie was able to pull away and work her way through the field. She eventually finished in 41st position, which was an admirable performance considering that she had been suffering with a chesty cough. Cicely, competing in her first national, was unable to go with Sophie in the second half of the race and unfortunately had to stop to regain her breath. However she did manage to make it to the finish line and record a 59th position. Both girls should be proud of their efforts this weekend and look forward to next year’s competition.

Having waited for a long time to compete, Mary Welch was the next Gad’s Hill runner to compete, this time in the Year 9/10 girl’s race. Mary started strongly and was in the top 15 as the race approached the end of the first loop, her target was to better her performance of 20th last year. As the race progressed a few runners that had paced their race well caught Mary and with 400m to go she was sitting in 19th position. Unfortunately Mary had given everything in the metres before and was unable to hang on to a top 20 finish, agonisingly for her finishing in 21st position. Nevertheless, this was still an excellent performance and Mary was the highest finishing Gad’s Hill student on the day.

In the final race of the day there was disappointment for Harry Gardner as he had to withdraw with crippling pains in his chest. Harry was called up as a last minute replacement and was excited to race at a national competition, three years after his first event. Harry had made a good start to the race, however after half of the course had been completed he was in obvious pain and had to withdraw.

The PE department would like to congratulate and thank all of the athletes who made the long journey to Princethorpe to compete. Despite a number of withdrawals it was an excellent event to attend with some super performances throughout the day, which can hopefully be replicated next year.

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