Elleray Shield Inter-Schools Cross-Country Event
Last week, Windermere School opened its gates to schools from across the South Lakes and Lancashire as it hosted the annual Inter-Schools’ Cross Country event.
The U10 and U11 boys’ and girls’ competitions have become popular events, attracting over four hundred runners from twenty-five different schools. In total, there were more than six hundred people at Elleray, including spectators and visiting staff, all of whom were treated to an afternoon of exciting racing and some very welcome warm, spring sunshine.
There was a buzz of excitement around the school as the participants walked the course, familiarising themselves with the route and, for some, planning their race strategies. As the start of the competition approached, the noise level increased, as did the nerves and anticipation. For many, this was their first real experience of racing.
The first race to get underway was the U10 Girls’ race. A fantastic run from Kate Collin of St. Mark’s Primary School saw her finish ahead of Lara Smith (St Thomas’s), with Freya Lucas (St Wilfrid’s) finishing third. Fine running from Madeleine Martindale, who finished in 7th place, Hester Metcalfe in 14th and Charlotte Stainer in 16th (out of one hundred and nineteen runners), saw St. Thomas’s collect the U10 Girls’ Shield.
The U10 Boys’ race followed and did not disappoint. Simon Rigby of St. Oswald’s ran a thrilling race to finish first, ahead of Alex Graham (Coniston) in second place, and Alfie Addison (Heron Hill) in third place. Levens won the U10 Boys’ Shield with good runs from Oscar Davies (8th), Finn Houston (12th), Silas Taylor (19th) and Charlie Hughes (27th).
The U11 Girl’s race was the penultimate race and was exciting from start to finish. St. Thomas’s Ella Martindale ran a great race to finish in first place, ahead of Jessica Edmonson (Coniston) and Tara Nel Allen (Allithwaite). Impressive performances from Windermere School runners Gracie Yearsley (7th), Patia May Pickering (8th), Karis Rooney (10th) and Elsa Jurd (14th) saw Windermere win the U11 Girls’ Shield.
The final race was the U11 Boy’s race and, once again, the spectators were treated to a superb race. The race was eventually won by the winner of last year’s Boy’s U10 race, Louis Bigland, of Heron Hill. Louis saw off the challenge of Rowan Ashworth from Ambleside, who finished in second place, and Riley Merryfield from Hawkshead, who took third place. Impressive runs from Riley’s teammates, Freddie Dixon (6th), Sam Thornley (25th) and William Patterson (26th), meant that Hawkshead went on to win the Boy’s U11 Shield.
Following the races, well-earned refreshments were available for all participants, before the final presentation ceremony.
Sarah Whitehead, Head of Physical Education at Elleray, organised the event and was full of praise for all of the runners; “We’ve been treated to some terrific racing and all those who have taken part should feel very proud of themselves. This is not a course for the faint-hearted.
I would like to thank everyone involved. You have helped to make the afternoon a real success – the runners, the team managers, the marshals, the hares, scorers, first aiders, maintenance staff, office staff and of course, the catering team.”
Rachael Thomas, Head of the Elleray Campus, echoed Mrs Whitehead’s sentiments, adding; “It has been wonderful to see the Elleray Campus buzzing with excitement. The sporting atmosphere was electric, with a healthy mix of competitiveness and support. The children have shown real drive and determination and I’m sure that the members of staff from the visiting schools would want to join me in saying a huge ‘well done’ to all the runners.”
The first time my daughter and I visited the school she said to me “that is a happy school no question.” The scholastic achievements of the school are evident and an easy measure for a school to demonstrate. What is hard to quantify is the holistic development of a pupil at which, in my experience, Windermere School excels.
Windermere School is such a unique community to be a part of. Not only is it based in a truly beautiful and inspiring national park, but the environment created by staff and students alike makes for an incredibly supportive, proactive, exciting and international place of learning in which everyone can thrive and be the best they can be.