On Saturday 3 December Stroud High School made the 170 mile trip to Formby for the England Schools National Cross-country finals. This was the third year running that we managed to qualify at least one team for the finals and this year we went with both out Intermediate and Junior teams. Our strong inter team finished 4th as Juniors in our first year competing in this event so we had high expectations of performing well, however students had missed training sessions due to French Exchange and our strongest runner had come down with a cold. We certainly lacked the perfect preparation we had hoped for.
There were 24 teams competing in each race having gone through county rounds and regional rounds to qualify for the Finals. About 400 schools took part in the initial qualifying round.
Our inexperienced Junior team made a valiant effort and finished 22nd with our best performance coming from Freya Gregory who finished in the top 60 of 140 runners.
The highlight of the day came from our Intermediate team. Annie Testar led off the 144 runners as they disappeared into the woods and sand dunes to complete the 2.7k race. As they came back onto the final field Annie was in an incredible 3rd place which she held over the finishing line. Libby Dickenson followed next finishing in 29th (her aim being to finish in the top 30) with Grace Tavner, Lydia Attwell and Isobel Parnaby finishing in the top 50 respectively. Our talented sprinter Amy Clark performed a fantastic run to finish 103rd. This exceptional performance meant the girls finished 3rd as a team and have become the first ever Gloucestershire school to win a team medal in the English Cross Country Cup Competition. The girls certainly did us and Stroud Athletics club proud!