At 9.15am on Tuesday 17 January 44 athletes boarded the coach for Lincroft school for the annual Bedfordia Cross Country Competition.
Over 30 schools from all around the midlands took part and this created an excellent atmosphere amongst all competitors, especially the year 5 students who had never competed in such a vast event before.
Following a walk of the course the athletes changed and then it was race time.
Year 5 girls were first to race in a field over 300 runners, and they were superb.
Sophia Waterer had a storming run (83) and crossed the line in front of the rest of The Abbey students with Georgina Phillips (93), Charlie Hattan (96) and Havannah Vincent (106) not far behind. Mihi Forbes Ballard (227), Polly Scoggins (220) and Milly Johnson (221) decided it was best to run together to navigate the number of competitors and to stay safe during the run, all three completing the run with smiles on faces and keen to race again. The team finished a creditable 22nd out of 34 teams.
Year 5 boys were even more nervous after they had watched the ‘stampede’ of the girls’ race, as one of the runners called it!! Solid performances all round with Luca di Paola (33) leading the way, closely followed by Jonjo Walker (74)and then a throng of Abbey athletes with John Hall (132), Arthur Na Nakhorn (133) Henry Shaw (134) all pushing each other along throughout the race. James Hattan (150) did well to push his way through the crowd following a slow start and Edward Carter (206) and Jack Palmer (207) finished strongly to ensure that the team finished 16th out of 33 teams.
Year 7 Girls warmed up with a purpose, knowing that they had run several times before, and with the training were in excellent condition to do well.
The start was fast and furious and after the first 500yards the field settled into their running. Amy Goddard gradually made her way through the field, finishing in a fantastic 3rd position, Anna Jackson fought her way around the course and eventually finished 19th with Ella Pitt (40) and Lucy Clare(66) close behind, Annie Nicholass (102) and Iris Morton(105) completed the team effort and ensure that the Year 7 girls finished a creditable 7th in the competition.
The Gauntlet was thrown down to the Year 7 boys to finish higher still, and try they did with some excellent running from Ed Rufford (7) , Tom Martin (36) and Sam Bolus (44). The wait was on for the rest of the team mates to see if they could better the girls’ seventh place!! There was then a frenzy of finishers with James Holliday (107), Archie Sjoberg (121), Archie Bacon (122), Tom Childs (134) and Archie Cartwright (143) to make for a team placing of eleventh: the Year 7 Girls were still the best team of the day.
Year 8 girls were next to step up to the challenge and they were confident , with the experience of competing in events like this before. They were happy to let the front runners sprint off and then slowly pick them off around the course and that’s exactly what they did!! Bea Thomas (2) sat and waited as the main pack sprinted away, but an excellent run and strong finish saw her home with Molly Marshall (3), Cecily Royal-Dawson (6), Jess Elmer (7) and Emily Whyte(9). The team were in an excellent position, and when Ella Walker ran the final corner and sprinted to the finish line to finish (28) the team were reunited and just needed to wait on the result.
Year 8 boys had just witnessed an incredible run by the girls and knew that they had to match the outcome. Charlie Turner and George Wharam looked relaxed and chilled as the pack set off at a great pace, but the boys after numerous races were confident that they could win the race and do that they did! Charlie and George crossed the line hand in hand to finish joint first!… But the team had to back them up and finish strongly… and with Kit Evans Lombe (4), Tom Harper (10), Will Franklin (11) and Tom Turner (28) the team did just that. Mauricio Corfe (31), John Hendry (45) and Ruben Kill (80) who are all expert over shorter distances offered excellent support.
The Year 8 girls and boys did remarkably well, both finishing 1st in their competitions.
It was a great day, especially for the Year 5 students who have never competed in an event like this before.