"The Tucks": This historic race is apparently one of the oldest cross country races in the world. As someone viewing it for the first time the race is quite a spectacle. The entire school becomes a ghost town as pupil and teacher alike walk the mile up to Meole Brace and the start of the race.
Matrons' cars stacked with drink, chocolate and ice packs for the return of the runners from the 3.5 mile course. The houses line up in 3 waves. The "A" string runners first, the "B" wave 2 minutes after, and then a further 2 minutes on everyone else.
The first 2 waves are relative calm, as 10 runners from each house run across the starting field and then filter through a gap in the fence about 3 m wide. The last wave is tremendous as the rest of the school start with a cry to war and then the spectacle for the viewer of 400+ students heading for the same 3m wide gap. Wonderful stuff. The event itself is what tradition is made of.
I watched the start and the finish and felt that my own children were in the race as I eagerly anticipated the first girl back. Alice Sykes Waller for MSH was the first girl home and 3rd overall. However, the other MSH girls were not far behind and we won the "A" wave race. I felt very proud of them but also felt I had let them down by not running with them as many of the other housemasters had. So next year I too will run the famous Tucks, and hope to god I survive our own Beechers Brook; that first gap in the hedge, because I can tell you all now I will definitely run in the 3rd wave!