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King Henry VIII Relay Race 2016
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Results have now been updated to show the top individual times:
On Wednesday 3rd February 2016 King Henry VIII School hosted the 45th Annual 3.2 mile Senior School Relay Race. Almost 500 boys and girls came from across the UK – as far north as Penrith and Kent in the south – to compete at Coventry’s War Memorial Park, next to the school site.
Always an exciting event, the Girls Race saw an excellent first lap from Kate Waugh (RGS Newcastle) at 13:16. Almost identical to her 2015 time, this sterling effort set the tone for the race. The stand-out performance of the day came from Harriet Knowles-Jones, the third-leg runner for Loreto Grammar school. Harriet took the baton with her team in fourth place, 1 minute 20 seconds behind the front runners, RGS, and handed it on in a strong first position, over a minute ahead of the second placed team. Her time – 12:07 – is stunning. This is Harriet’s last race with us, but she is certainly one to watch in wider athletics competitions in the future!
The Girls Race not quite over, Sabrina Singha of Sevenoaks tried her best to catch up with Loreto, running in 12:48, and so joins Harriet as one of only three girls to run the course in less than 13 minutes. Such hard competition is remarkable – we hope to see more of Sabrina in coming races, and feel sure that these times will remain in the league table for a long time!
Loreto’s Grammar School took the overall Girls Race team win in a time of 54:42, followed by Sevenoaks in 55:02. These times are the second and third fastest times that we have seen in the history of the girls’ race – an amazing achievement. Third place went to Millfield, who ran the course in 57:26 – a time which would usually have secured the winner’s cup! Congratulations to them all.
King Henry VIII’s brought two girls teams to the race: our ‘A’ team comprising Laura Hobbs, Louisa Woolley, Rosie Rushton and Charlotte Cleasby; they came in at 26th place. Running in our B team were Emily Smith, Laura McTernan, Sarah Brown and Hannah Pilbeam, placing 28th. From Coventry we also welcomed Bablake (11th) and Tile Hill Wood (20th). 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!
This year the Boys’ Race culminated in a thrilling final lap, with five teams (St. Albans, Loughborough GS, Shrewsbury, Sedbergh and The Judd) all vying for the first place. At the entrance to the Gardens the runners were neck and neck, Toby Ralph from The Judd chasing Sedbergh’s George Porter in the final straight. The Boys Race totals six laps, and lasts over an hour – yet less than a minute separates the top five teams’ finishing time!
Toby’s run of 11:31 turned out to be the second (joint) fastest lap of the day, sharing that honour with Joe Bird (Sedbergh). Loughborough’s Sam Steven’s took the top title of fastest lap with an impressive 11:23, shaving almost a minute off his 2015 time. Sam was presented with the Mark Randall Shield, awarded for the first time since 1992, to mark his achievement as fastest male runner.
The hotly contested overall winning team for the Boys Race were The Judd, with an overall time of 72:51, exactly a minute faster than their winning time last year. Sedbergh came second with 72:58, and Shrewsbury placed third (beating Loughborough by 4 seconds!) with a time of 73:25.
The home school King Henry VIII fielded one team this year, led by Captain Harrison McCartney: George Gawthorpe, Stefan Hill, Oliver Smith, Ben Lane and Yuhang Xie finished 36th, with a time of 89.08. Harrison had a noteworthy run, bringing King Henry VIII to second place at the end of his lap; Harrison was in the top 20 out of more than 250 runners competing.
Our guest presenter this year was Paul Sinton-Hewitt CBE, founder of the global organisation parkrun. A nationally recognised ‘Hero of Running’, Paul’s efforts to promote and encourage runners of all ages and ability make him an excellent ambassador of sport, speaking to the many athletes assembled for the after-race tea and awards ceremony.
It has been another superb year for King Henry VIII’s Relay Race. Thanks must always 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. We look forward to hosting this glorious event again, on February 1st 2017.
Tom Andrews, 2016