NATIONAL PRIMARY SCHOOL AND YEAR 7 NATIONAL CROSS-COUNTRY FINAL BELVOIR CASTLE
Kent’s Lola Sutton crowned inaugural National Primary School Champion
The inaugural national cross-country final for year 5/6/7 has been acclaimed a great success. The event took place at Belvoir Castle , the ancestral home of the Dukes of Rutland which is situated on the borders of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire on Saturday, March 19 and . The event, which was combined with the Leicestershire and Rutland County schools cross-country finals, attracted competitors from 14 counties across England from as far away as Cumbria in the north and three teams representing London boroughs in the south.
Belvoir Castle provided a stunning backdrop for a course which event director John Skevington described as “having a bit of everything” from a long sweeping start to some technical twists and turns through the woods to a boggy stream which became bigger and deeper as the day progressed! To add to the spectacular setting the races finished alongside the Belvoir Lake which gave finishers and spectators alike a great view over the grand setting.
This video by UASflights gives a fantastic overview of the day.
The event was organised by the Leicestershire Running and Athletics Network in conjunction with event sponsors Thule who are huge supporters of junior cross country within Leicestershire and Rutland. With 10 races taking place during the day starting with races for school years three and four, for local county areas only, the whole event attracted in excess of 1700 competitors throughout the day.
The privilege of being the first ever National primary schools champion was taken by Lola Sutton in the year five girls race representing Kent and who took the race after a closely fought battle with Sophie Rylance from Cumbria.
Other inaugural title winners were Isaac Waters (again from Kent) in the year five boys; Tierney Walsh (Y6 girls North Yorks); James Bowen (Y6 boys Cumbria); Eve Jones (Y7 girls West Yorks) and Fraser Sproul (Y7 boys Cumbria).
Feedback from the event has been unanimously positive. All all teams taking part this year promising to come back again for the follow up event in 2017. They’re also promising to spread the word to their county neighbours and encourage them to send their athletes to take part in what is generally seen as a significant step forward in the provision of appropriate competition at a higher level for these up-and-coming age groups.
Event director John Skevington added “ It has long been an ambition to bring together the best up and coming cross country runners from across the country to take part in good appropriate competition and compete for National titles. That ambition has been brought to life today thanks to the hard work of many volunteers.” He went on the add “ Once the idea of hosting a year 5/6 competition was formed it became obvious that we were then creating a gap in national competition as there is nothing specifically for year 7s. It was natural step to include them as well and the experience should prove to be a positive stepping stone for those who will no doubt be competing at English schools level next year. The event has received nothing but positive feedback and certainly we will be looking to expand the event further in 2017.”
Mike Torbitt , director of event sponsors Thule, who have already committed to supporting the 2017 edition concluded “ It has been an honour to have been involved in the establishment of this inaugural event this year by bringing together the country’s best young cross country runners and we are committed to looking at ways of taking the event forward in future years”