On Thursday 15th October 30 primary schools from the New Forest converged on the Gang Warily playing fields in Blackfield to take part in the largest U11 New Forest Schools Cross Country Relays competition the district has ever seen. In total, there were 432 children taking part in this exciting event.
The relays consist of teams of three running the mile course. The first runner from each team sets off on their 1 mile leg and they then hand the race over to the second member of their team and so on until all three runners from each team have run. The first team to cross the finish line after all three runners have run is the winner.
The conditions were perfect and the children were all very excited. The first race was the girls under 11 competition with Megan Hulbert (Abbotswood Junior) and Lilly Jones (Hale Primary) setting off at pace and maintaining this all the way round the course. It was Megan who came in first after the first leg with Lilly just behind. By the third leg, Abbotswood were still in pole position and were extending their lead over the runners from Marchwood, Hale and Orchard. In the end it was Abi Hutchings from Abbotswood who crossed the finish line first to take the gold medal. Second place and the silver medal went to Marchwood with the bronze medal being contested by Hale and Orchard all the way up until the finish line with Orchard just beating the team from Hale on the line.
The boys competition was another close race with teams from Milford-on-Sea, Lymington, Orchard, South Baddesley, Brockenhurst, Abbotswood and Marchwood setting a fast pace and moving away from the rest of the field from early on. The team from Orchard managed to push their way to the front and to hold their lead over their rivals. Orchard took the gold medal with Marchwood taking the silver medal once again. The bronze medal went to the South Baddesley team with Abbotswood, Brockenhurst and Milford-on-Sea narrowly missing out on a medal.
Rob Crocker from the New Forest School Sport Partnership said “It’s wonderful to see so many young people taking part in this competition. Our focus today has not just been on those winning the races but on one of our School Games values, determination. We have asked schools and their pupils to focus on this core value and how they can transfer it’s qualities into their everyday life. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the young leaders from Testwood Sports College for volunteering at this event.”
Schools that attended were Abbotswood, Ashley, Bartley, Blackfield, Bransgore, Breamore, Brockenhurst, Burley, Calmore, Foxhills, Hale, Hordle, Hyde, Hythe, Lymington, Marchwood, Milford-on-Sea, New Milton, Orchard, Our Lady St Joseph’s, Pennington, Ringwood, South Baddesley, St Lukes, Tiptoe, Waterside, Western Downland and William Gilpin.