Cross Country: SISICC Report 2020
35th Annual Running of Scottish Cross-Country Held at Belhaven.
This last weekend saw the annual running of the hugely successful Scottish Independent Schools’ Invitational Cross-Country Championships. It is held at John Muir Country Park and has, for the past 21 years, been organised by members of Belhaven Hill School’s sports’ department.
Thirteen independent schools from Scotland and the north of England were invited and entered up to 6 runners into each race for boys and girls, divided into age groups: Under-9s, Under-11s and Under-13s. The routes, which run near the beach and through the woods, cover 1.2, 1.6 and 1.9 miles respectively.
Noel Curry, who organises the competition as well as teaching Classics, says: “This course is the most challenging on the Scottish junior and prep schools’ calendar and is the highlight of the cross-country season.
“Belhaven boys and girls practice running every week and trained for the cross-country by running relays along our local beach and through the woods in their Patrol (house) competitions. Many of them manage the full 4.5-mile route from school out to John Muir Country Park over stiles, bridges, beaches, woodland in all weathers, from wind and snow to the most idyllic coastal sunsets.”
322 runners made it around the course, the second highest total ever.
The U-9 girls got the day off to an explosive start, an Ardvreck runner winning the event by obliterating the course record by a whopping 35 seconds. Edinburgh Fettes Prep. won the team event.
The U-9 boys were next in a hotly contested race in which another record fell to E.A., by a single second compared to the mark set last year. E.A. also won the team event with Belhaven Hill finishing in fourth position of the nine teams, led in ably by Rafe who finished strongly in fifth position of the 55 runners.
The U-11 girls were up next, Belhaven again finishing fourth of ten teams, led by Ardvreck.
We then had our standout performance of the day as George won the U-11 boys’ race, fitting for such an able boy who finished third in the same race last year. E.A. posted positions 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 however and took the trophy, and indeed their B-team took third place too.
In the final races of the afternoon Cleodie fought hard against the biting wind of the course to finish second in a very strong field of 55 and Belhaven just missed out on taking the gong, finishing behind St. Mary’s. Cleodie actually beat the course record, but was pipped by one other outstanding athlete. The boys’ race was won by E.A., amazingly their third trophy of the afternoon with Jack finishing a creditable seventh.
On top of the hundreds of hours of preparation and administration, the seven Belhaven staff had taken six hours to get the course ship-shape and comments suggest it was the best event held; one member of staff from another prep. school, a veteran of thirty years’ of events, said it was the best event ever hosted, testament to the standard of organisation by the staff at Belhaven, the coaches of all of the teams and the runners on the day.
Some 1,200 spectators cheered the runners on over sand dunes and down woodland paths with the sea breeze in the air, and many headed afterwards for tea and prize-giving in Belhaven Hill School’s sports hall.On days like this, despite wind, rain and tragedy, to hear such positive words and see such enjoyment of the faces of young people testing their bodies against all that nature throws at them, it all seems worthwhile.
Below are compilations of stills photos and videos taken on the day.