Shrewsbury School

The Sidney-Darwin Dash and Quarter-Mile Challenge 2018

Friday 18 May 2018

Yesterday saw the Heats of the Sidney-Darwin Dash and Quarter-Mile Challenge 2018. Most schools at this time of year will, of course, be gearing up towards their annual Sports Day, as indeed Shrewsbury will be on Wednesday 27th June.  However, few schools have as unusual an athletics event as this one, with runners sprinting down the middle of Top Common and racing around the Cricket Oval. 

Despite its echoes of the Trinity College Great Court Run, our own event is in fact a deceptively recent ‘tradition’, not hundreds of years old as one might expect but in fact inaugurated in 2011.  

The genesis of the event came when a local resident of the town contacted the School asking whether we would be interested in a silver butter dish top that she had found in her attic, presented on 17th June 1869 to a certain H Hughes for winning the Shrewsbury School Quarter-Mile.  

Having gratefully received this donation, we added a rather fine plinth and silver plates and considered the idea of recreating the old ‘Quarter-Mile’ event.  A suitable location was scouted for, with various areas around the school campus and beyond considered, but the area around Central was settled on, to include a loop down past the Main School Buildings and around the Alington Hall. We decided, moreover, to extend the event to include a sprint, with the tree-lined avenue running between the Sidney and Darwin statues providing a natural ‘track’ to put our speedsters to the test.  

It was certainly quirky and not your average athletics event, but the first year’s event was a tremendous success, with competitors and spectators relishing the uniqueness of the event and the exciting action that it generated.  The trophy was won by Port Hill’s Howard Stringer in a time that remains the event record, a title that he retained in his upper sixth year in 2012.  The junior Quarter-Mile was won in that first year by Stuart Brown from The Grove, with Chike Kandi from Moser’s Hall taking the winner’s tankard in the newly-christened junior ‘Sidney-Darwin Dash’.  

In 2016 the event was relocated to Top Common, being deemed a more suitable (and safer!) option for our exceptionally quick runners!

Now in its eight year, the event continues to grow and grow and has become a highlight in the Shrewsbury School Athletics calendar. This year see the implementation of an Official Starter (the man with the gun!) which has added to the event’s prestige. During Sunday’s Final we will see the girls battle it out; heats for the girls’ races will start as of 2019. It looks set to be a clash of the titans in a number of the boys’ finals. 

Several of the boys and girls have been making their mark in the Athletics Squad and Shrewsbury performed exceptionally well at the recent County Championships. The video replay will be ready on Sunday. It looks likely that it will be required in the Senior Boys’ Final, where five of the eight finalists have already ruled on the track this season. Can any of the boys add to their medal haul this weekend?

The girls’ races on Sunday look to be just as exciting as the boys’. Can the Athletics Captain do the double? Will the Juniors Girls Quarter-Mile Record be broken again?

The event will be videoed for parents and Old Salopians unable to attend, and we will publish this on the website.

Please do come and support on Sunday. Parents are welcome. Races will start promptly at 11am on Top Common. Good luck to all competitors!

Mrs Kelly

Results from Thursdays Heats and starting line-up for Sunday (Not in time order; 8 qualify)

Sidney-Darwin Dash – Junior:

Will Stanford-Davis
Douglas Hague Saunders
Henry Bateson
Andrew Chan
Henry Lees
Will Maddocks
Johnny Price
Nikta Martynov

Sidney-Darwin Dash – Senior:

Tom Plaut
Tom Drury
Bilal Khan
Toby Pattinson
Arron Lewis
Matt Brinkley
Jasper Mitchell
Monty Hardcastle

Quarter-Mile Challenge – Junior:

Oscar Hamilton Russell
Seb Vanhoonaker
Henry McGowan
Fadi Masri
Oliver Taylor
Harvey Shaw
Johnny Price
Ed Forde-Johnson

Quarter-Mile Challenge – Seniors:

Owen Mock
Monty Hardcastle
Charles Shaw
Thomas Jackson
Mark Pangin
Toby Pegge
Harry Remnant
Charlie Ockleston


Sidney-Darwin Dash – Junior:

Natalie Dee
Ellie Corbett
Isabel Morris
Flora Kanan
Viva Moss
Adelaide Sillar
Tommy Jarvis
Lucy Lees

Sidney-Darwin Dash – Senior:

Olivia Taylor
Amelie Davies
Claire Richards
Poppy Collingwood-Cameron
Millie Callaghan
Georgia Kannreuther
Jasmine Lo
Daisy McMullen

Quarter-Mile Challenge – Junior:

Francesca Harris
Hester Lockett
Nell Ware
Charlotte Russell
Livy Elliot
Ellie Letts
Georgie Nicholas
Morgan Sandford

Quarter-Mile Challenge – Seniors:

Abi Watkinson
Lillian Wilcox
Naomi Potts
Niamh Nugent
Claire Richards
Felicity Hayward
Anna Cowan
Alessandra Ardission

Current Event Records

Junior Sidney-Darwin Dash:
Girls: Daisy McMullen (G) 13.31 (2017)
Boys: Bilal Khan (I) 12.05 (2017)

Senior Sidney-Darwin Dash:
Girls: Claire Richards (G) 13.04 (2016)
Boys James Plaut (S) 11.04 (2015)

Junior Quarter-Mile Challenge:
Girls: Francesca Harris (EDH) 66.79 (2017)
Charlie Tait-Harris (S) 52.41 (2014)

Senior Quarter-Mile Challenge:
Girls: Alice Sykes-Waller (MSH) 63.87 (2014)
Boys: Howard Stringer (PH) 51.35 (2011)

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