Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Cross Country Season 2024 Report

Cross Country Season 2024 Report

Belhaven Hill 2023-24 Cross-Country Season Report

The cross-country year started with our twice-weekly Tuesday and Thursday Runs.  All pupils at Belhaven in Forms 1-3 run 3k once a week, those in Forms 4-6 run 2k and Forms 7-8, 1k.  The pupils in the lower two age groups may, of course, attempt a longer distance if they should wish.  This year we broke out from the standard run to go down to the town, the beach at Belhaven Bay or the woods at John Muir Country Park much more than in previous years.

At Christmas we held our annual Christmas Games which involved the final Thursday Run of the year followed by competitive egg-and-spoon races at speed dressed as ridiculousnesses such as dinosaurs and sharks, followed by dragging the scrum machine.  Much fun.


In the last week before the spring half-term we held our annual Individual Cross-Country, a 2.1km dash around the school grounds.  Archie S. won the event in 7m 55s, just pipping Rollo and Alfie into second and third places.  Emily was the first female, and junior girl home, Monty S. the first junior boy in an impressive seventh position.

The Owls won the event overall, pipping the Lions into second, followed by the Wolves and finally the Woodies in a race close between the first three patrols.  Well done to every pupil for participating.

Two years ago, terrible winds at John Muir Country Park caused the Scottish Independent Schools’ Invitational Cross-Country Championships caused a cancellation and then a subsequent reworking of the rout.  Sadly, due to the lack of trees not absorbing rainfall, paths are now submerged and unpassable and as such we had to work out a completely new course and routes.  Starting at Belhaven Bay, we now run out towards J.M.C.P. in varying degrees of length; 2.5 k for the U9s, 3.0 k the U11s and 3.5 k the U13s.  For a first run at a new course the team at Belhaven performed wonders in late February, and will get better with a year under their belts.

The highlights of the event were Monty winning the U9 boys’ race – meaning a Belhaven runner has won that event for two years now, while Emily was 2nd in the U11 girls’ for Belhaven for the second year consecutively, and Annie F. coming in third place in the U-9 girls’ event, despite being a year young.  In the team awards we, came in third position or better in five out of the six races, better than all other schools, including winning the U11 team event outright.  The event itself was a huge success, with a near-record 384 runners from schools ranging from Melrose in the southwest nearly to Aberdeen, a 150-mile spread.  It is always a very special day in the prep schools’ calendar, and we are proud to continue to host the event.

Next up was the Merchiston XC, a short but fun relay event.  The situation from the S.I.S.I.C.C.C., perhaps unsurprisingly, recurred, as our teams finished generally well.  Our U9 and U11 boys both finished second, Monty and Archie catching the eye in the U9 race and Xannder and Patrick in the U11s.  Frustratingly we finished one second off winning, due to tripping on a tree root. The U11 and U13 girls finished in fifth positions creditably, and U13 boys in fourth.  Everyone left everything they had on the course.

Late spring term saw the annual running by Belhaven Hill of the local Lochend Woods Parkrun.  The idea behind the event is to encourage fitness and runners of any age and ability run or walk around 5K courses all over the country, and indeed all over the world.  All courses are exactly 5K in length and are manned by volunteers every Saturday morning.  All Form 1 pupils took part.

Archie came home first of the Belhaven contingent today, in 7th position with an excellent time of 23m. 22s in very wet conditions indeed.  Alfie and Eck came immediately after in 8th and 9th positions, with Charlie, Harry, Blake and Tommy all featuring in the top 16 in under 25 minutes.  Maya was the first female home in 28m 50s.  It was so heartening to see eight parents from the 24 pupils also running the distance with their children today, plus many more watching and cheering on from the side.  Well done to all of Form One for pushing yourselves in your first ever externally organised run.

The Patrol Cross-Country Relay has become a wonderful event and includes every single (on-games) pupil in the school.  Running the 5.1-mile course from school to the far end of John Muir Country Park, over the seven legs and four teams for each of the four patrols the Woodpeckers A-team eventually won in 31 m 41s, with the Owls in second, the Wolves third and the Lions in fourth in an unusually close competition.  Interestingly the Woodpeckers turned the form book on its head, winning the A-, B- and D- races, having come a distant last in the Individual Cross-Country just a month before.  Notable runs came from Alfie, Blake, Monty S., Rollo and Xander.


June saw our best and also our most determined runners take to the 2K or 3K for one final time in the Final Thursday Run of the Year.  As we have pushed for excellence more and more, records are now much harder to come by and as such the day has become as much about celebrating our best and giving runners the best conditions to run in in their attempt to run their personal best, or attempt to run quicker than 12 minutes for 3K.

Despite the awfully wet weather of late, some fabulous performances were put in and records fell.  In the pre-prep races we have some outstanding runners and Annie F. took the Form 6 3k record by covering the ground in just 14m 36.  Lochie O. was even faster, completing the run in 12m 51s, also a record but in the boys’ section.  The Form 7 races were bountiful in terms of quality and records.  Rufus B. claimed the 3K record in 14m 44s, just a second ahead of Harris, and also claimed the 1K time in 4m 49s.  In Form 8 Lettie L. took the girls’ 2K record in 13m 13s and Rory T. both the boys’ 1K and 2K records in 4m 54 and 9m 58.  Such fun, effort and drive from these youngsters on a beautiful day made for a feast of running.  Well done to everyone who took part and here’s to adding our own little bit of the jigsaw to Belhaven’s fantastic running tradition.


Thursday Run Record Attempts – May 2024 from Belhaven Hill School on Vimeo.

In the afternoon we were treated further as Archie S. came home first, covering 3K in just 11m 23s, cementing his position as the school’s quickest runner.  Clemmie G.-C. became just the fourth female runner in the school to run sub-13 minutes, as she came in in a time of 12m 50s.  It was, however, in the junior section that the most excitement was to be had.  Xander lowered his own personal best to 11m 49s, as did Patrick to a seemingly unbelievable 11m 32s – both exceptional for F4 pupils.  Anastasia, also in F4 also notched a sub-13 minute time (12m 52s) but pride of place went firstly to Monty S. who lowered his own record for 3K to 11m 32s, and in so doing took the 2K record at 7m 44s as well.  Secondly Finlay T. nicked the 2K record by one second as he finished in 8m 26s, and then proceeded to pinch Lochie’s 3k record – set earlier that day – also by one second, in 12m 50s!  Never has a record been so sadly short-lived!  All in all a day full of P.B.s and records – what a phenomenal bunch of runners.

So another great year of running at Belhaven, packed with individual and team successes.  Runners of the year go to Archie in the seniors and Emily and Monty in the juniors.

Noel Curry