A year ago, members of the School's cross-country running team, the Hunt (RSSH), were honoured to welcome to the School their first Coach in Residence, Ethiopia’s Sentayehu Eshetu, who has trained over a dozen Olympic champions and world record holders. It was an inspirational week, and as 'Coach' talked about running in his small home town of Bekoji, a seed was sown in the mind of Master in Charge of the Hunt, Peter Middleton. During the October half term exeat, he and Ian Haworth led a group of 12 cross-country runners to the spiritual home of distance runners - East Africa.
Training at altitude with some of the world's finest young athletes in the small town of Iten in Kenya (which proudly lays claim to be 'The Home of Champions') and later with Coach in Bekoji, Ethiopia, and experiencing for themselves the lack of material wealth and yet the boundless drive, determination and hope of these young runners, both challenged and inspired the Shrewsbury team. Above all else, they learned a huge amount about humility, dedication and ambition.
One of the major highlights of the trip was a day spent at the Sanata Restart Centre, which cares for and educates orphans and streetchildren from the town of Gilgil in Kenya. Having spent many hours during the weeks leading up to the trip raising funds for the Centre, the team were excited to see it for themselves and meet the children who lived there. The hope and optimism of the children, who had had such traumatic and difficult beginnings to their lives, made a huge impact on all the Shrewsbury students.
To read Peter Middleton's full account of the trip, please see: RSSH Tour to East Africa, October 2013
The trip was also featured on BBC Midlands Today on Saturday 28th December 2013: RSSH East Africa Tour on BBC Midlands Today