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King Henry VIII Relay Race 2015
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Results have now been updated to show the top individual times:
GIRLS’ RESULTS 2015
King Henry VIII School hosted the 44th Annual 3.2 mile Relay Race on 4th February 2015. Almost 500 boys and girls from across England came to the War Memorial Park, next to the school site; this was the largest ever meet for the event, which has run a boy’s race since 1972, and a girl’s race since 2000. Many of the race’s former participants have gone on to run at national and international level, and we always enjoy some superb competition and a fantastic atmosphere.
Rain, snow and cold winds in the weeks preceding the race did not bode well, but on the day the air was calm and the rain and snow held off – making for perfect running conditions. Traffic held up many teams coming from the north of the country, but by 2.30pm the start line was full of runners ready to go, with all competitors present. This year saw the introduction of chip timing, for increased accuracy and efficiency of recording our runners’ times. Due to the team relay nature of the race, the chips are secured in the team’s batons, rather than in the trainers of individual runners.
54 teams completed the course in the Boy’s Race. Declan McManus led the runners after the first lap, running the second fastest lap of the day in a time of 11:16. By the third leg, the Judd School were in pole position, and with superb runs from Stuart Brown (12:02) and Miles Weatherseed (11:51, the third best time of the day) they maintained this lead and went on to win the King Henry VIII Relay Cup for the third time in their history. The start of the final lap saw St Albans in second place, ahead of Shrewsbury and Loughborough GS. But then Loughborough’s Ben Djikstra ran 11:16. This incredible effort beats Seb Coe’s time when he ran in 11:20 and puts Ben in the all-time fastest runners’ list. Only four boys have run a better time in the last decade, and two of these are the Brownlee brothers (Olympic gold and bronze medallist triathletes in 2012)! For the last hundred metres Ben was tracking down St Alban’s Dan Myers, but a determined Dan held him off and secured St Alban’s second place. Two seconds later Loughborough finished in third – a exciting competition for the top three team positions!
The Judd won with an overall time of 73:51; St Albans were second with 74:40, and Loughborough placed third with 74:42.
The home school King Henry’s fielded one team this year, comprising Ed Broadberry (Captain), Harrison McCartney, Joshua Jelley, Joseph Gardiner, Tom Lea and Stefan Hill. They finished 41st, in a time of 88:01. Ed and Harrison both had excellent runs, in the top 10% of the times run on the day, and their times of 12:32 and 12:29 respectively would have earned them a place in any of the teams who finished above them. These young men are some of the best runners King Henry’s has had, and we will certainly miss Ed next year. Bablake School was the only other local boys team, running in 99:26.
The Girls’ Race (four runners each on the same course) had 38 teams, more than we have ever hosted before. Abbie Saker of Bromsgrove School had an excellent first lap, running the 2.3 mile course in 13:52 – one of the top 20 times in the history of the race. Claudia Cowan took Loreto to first place in what was the best time for the second leg, and her team mate Harriet Knowles-Jones kept them there with a superb run. In the last leg newcomers RGS Newcastle’s Kate Waugh set the second fastest run of the day with 13:10, and Mari Smith of Loughborough High School ran 13:25 – the third best time of the day. Neither were able to catch Loreto’s Beth Barlow, however, who ran the fourth fastest time of 13:30. Loreto’s total time was 54:35, smashing the previous course record (set by Millfield last year) by 1 minute 43 seconds. Loreto’s time is almost three minutes faster than the third fastest recorded total time (set in 2011) – an amazing achievement.
A resounding win for Loreto Grammar School, with RGS Newcastle coming in second with 57:14 (a time that would usually mean first place!), and third place cup going to Loughborough High School, who ran the course in 58.25. Congratulations to them all.
King Henry VIII fielded two girls teams, our ‘A’ team comprising Penny Oliver, Louisa Woolley, Emma Kempton and Rachael Abbey, and coming in 29th place. Running in our B team (35th) was Rhiannon Cope, Beth Gardiner, Rosie Rushton and Chloe Jenkins. From Coventry we also welcomed two Bablake teams (31st and 33rd). It is worth remembering that schools travel the length and breadth of the country to attend the race that we proudly host, and we should expect to find ourselves up against some strong competition!
Our guest presenter this year was the 2012 Coach of the Year, George Harrison, who also was awarded the MBE in 2014 in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his contribution to Athletics. He spoke about the legacy of the race here in Coventry, generously describing it as the ‘finest school relay in the western hemisphere’. Although an excellent athlete in his own right, George has spent a life time promoting and encouraging others, so it was unsurprising that he spoke about runners past and present who have participated in the event. Thanks must go to the very many volunteers, students and staff who help to run the event on the day – more than seventy people stewarding, timing and so on make the event possible – but also to the family members and public who come along each year to support the race. Thanks also to the War Memorial Park for the continued use of their park for the race.