Shrewsbury School

RSSH: Bronze medals from the national Knole Park 9km run

Sunday 13 January 2013

At the National Long Run at Knole Park on Saturday 12th January, the boys repeated their bronze medal success of 2012, again behind winners Judd School and St. Alban's. This is a huge achievement and testament to the hard work of the squad during the Michaelmas term and their pre-season training in Lanzarote. Top finisher was Huntsman Ed Mallett (S UVI) in 8th position, with Rory Fraser (Ch LVI) two seconds behind in 9th, and Seb Blake (S UVI) 16th. The girls' squad finished in 24th place.

Following the Hunt’s pre-season training camp in Lanzarote, our team were well prepared for the rigours of the challenging, undulating course of the 9km Knole Run on the first weekend of term.  With over sixty teams taking part and over just under 500 runners taking part in the boys and girls events, this event is widely considered to be one of the key national events, with all the top schools in the country competing, including this year George Heriot’s from Scotland.  Having broken in to the top three last year with a terrific third place, our aim this year was consolidate that position and to gain further experience at the very top level.

With a light snowfall that morning and damp conditions, the race looked to be a tough slog, but as anticipated, our three key runners of Ed Mallett (S), Seb Blake (S) and Rory Fraser (Ch) all got off to a strong start and were in the lead pack before the first bottleneck of the course.  In fact, all 14 of our runners in the A and B squad managed to get out of the blocks well and settled into their rhythm as the course veered down into the valley of Knole Park. 

This year’s Huntsman Ed Mallett was looking to improve upon his excellent top 10 place last year, and was amongst the chasing pack following the first main hill of the two-lap course.  Ardingly College’s Will Durkin had opened up a considerable gap in the lead by the halfway mark, and he looked to be in a class of his own (slightly at an advantage given that he is 19!)  At halfway Ed was just within the top 10, with Lower Sixth Former Rory Fraser not far behind.  Seb Blake was a little adrift of our lead pair, with the hills and distance not entirely suited to his own running.  Seb is in terrific form at the moment (indeed he ran a 35.14 10km in Lanzarote a week before Knole, and that was after a hard track session the day before!), and will be in a strong position when we come to the short flat course of the national relays.  At the Knole, Seb came home in a still impressive 16th place, and his performance was backed up by excellent runs from Rory Fraser who came through a few places to eventually finish 9th, just behind Ed Mallett in 8th.  First time Knole runner Ralph Wade (Rb) had a superb second half eventually storming home in 33rd, with Toby Lansdell (PH) improving on last year’s 58th with his 43rd this year.  Our final ‘counter’ Mark Lawley (S) was also a first timer, and he completed the team’s point score with his 88th place. 

Our team score of 197 points ensured we retained our place in the top three schools in the country and the team were deserved recipients of the bronze medals, particularly since we were without two of our key runners for this race. 

The ‘B’ team also demonstrated our depth of talent with their 21st position overall, two places higher than last year, beating many notable schools’ ‘A’ teams such as Brighton College, George Heriot’s, Radley College and The Royal Hospital School.  Oscar Dickins (R) ran bravely to place inside the top 100, and particular mention must go to Will Hayward (R) who as a Third Former should be very proud of such a high position at this stage in his running career.

BOYS RESULTS (out of 307):
‘A’ Team
8th Ed Mallett 35:31
9th Rory Fraser 35:33
16th Seb Blake 36:30
33rd Ralph Wade 37:33
43rd Toby Lansdell 37:54
88th Mark Lawley 39:53
159th Henry Dashwood 42:13
176th Ben Remnant 42:58

B’ Team
72nd Oscar Dickins 39:06
110th Will Hayward 40:36
120th John Dempsey 40;52
132nd Freddie Hill 41:14
194th Jake Samuel 43:53
217th Charlie Davis 45:01

TEAM RESULTS (out of 40 teams)
1st The Judd School 87 points
2nd St Albans School 112 points
3rd RSSH 197 points
4th Sevenoaks School 227 points
5th Abingdon 287 points
6th Winchester College 362 points
7th Highgate School 407 points
8th Harrow School 416 points
9th Wellington College 450 points
10th Westminster School 496 points

21st RSSH ‘B’ team 845 points

The girls team were all new to the event, and found the initial pace in the shorter 3.6km route somewhat surprising.  Having placed a superb 6th last year in their first appearance in the event, it was always going to be a tough ask to compete with that result, particularly with an inexperienced team.  However, Lucie Cornwell-Lee dipped into the top 100, and all the girls will have found the race valuable experience, particularly as they all have another year at the school. 

Interestingly, Tudor Hall School’s Victoria Mobley, who placed 5th individually, will be joining Shrewsbury School in the sixth form next year, so we will have a very strong runner in our team for next year!

GIRLS RESULTS (out of 134):
90th Lucie Cornwell-Lee 16:28
101st Alice Sykes-Waller 17:13
127th Laura Nightingale 19:33
131st Jasmine Douglas 20:03

Team: 24th/25

PJM

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