Shrewsbury School

RSSH: King Henry VIII Relays 2020

Friday 7 February 2020

The annual King Henry VIII Coventry Relays are always the biggest event of the RSSH season, essentially the Nationals as far as school running is concerned.

With 52 of the country's top schools, from Kent to Cumbria, entering teams into the 6x (boys) and 4x (girls) 2.3-mile race around the beautiful War Memorial Park.

In what was a high-tension environment, accentuated by a filming drone, the girls’ A and B ‘Four’ started proceedings. Liv Elliott (15.22) and Laura Elliott (15.42) managed to put all sisterly love aside as they gave RSSH a solid start in what were near perfect running conditions. Anna Cowan (16.18) and Eva Hall (16.56) maintained a strong opening from RSSH before the A team handed over to the experienced Chessie Harris (13.52) who returned in the tenth fastest time of the day and the B team to enthusiastic debutant, Nora Hecker (17.12).

The anchor legs were taken on by Lillian Wilcox (15.27), in her final relay for the School, and Charlotte Russell (17.05), who ensured a very respectable 14th and 30th place respectively for the girls. With strong numbers starting to come through this term for the girls, this is a strong foundation from which to build next year.

The boys’ teams were hampered by injury to three key runners, yet the B ‘Six’ came 19th and the A ‘Six’ managed to come 5th, posting an impressive 74.08, not much slower than last year’s record-breaking time of 73.12. Harrison Cutler (12.12) ran superbly for a Fifth Former and handed on the baton to slightly ill, but very brave, Max Green (12.39), who was making his debut in this event despite being in the Upper Sixth.

Tom Jackson (12.39), an old Hunt hand did his usual Emil Zatopek impression as he battled round one final time for the famous old club. Paddy Barlow (12.50), another hugely loyal servant, was equally impressive, before handing on to yet another Riggite, Fourth Former (!), Will Singleton (12.06), who gracefully glided round in order to set up a grand finale for Huntsman, Sam Western (11.41), who blew the opposition away with the eighth fastest time of the day.

The B team saw Lower Sixth debutant Sam Freeman (12.59) hand over to our long-striding Cumbrian, Arthur Bramwell (13.41), who held his own before handing on to track specialist, Fifth Former Jonny Price (12.57). The final two legs were filled with two freshly promoted Third Formers, the Swiss-Kenyan, Tim Strebel (14.04) and Norfolk-based Scotsman, Brad Keay (13.09). This young team show that the future remains bright for our historic club.

Although the Hunt’s two major competitions are now over, we have much to look forward to in the shape of Midlands League fixtures, the Inter-Counties, the much-loved Hash Run and of course, the long-awaited Hunt Club Champs up the Lawley. Meanwhile the summer will see six intrepid Hunt members try to defend their crown in the extraordinary event that is the Scottish Islands Peaks Race. So, keep running hard… and well.

Mr Griffiths

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