By Henry Fagan
On the last Friday of term, instead of the usual cross country club training, Mr Clarke decided to test the abilities of the cross country athletes by organising a handicap race around the Friday loop.
The route was a 2.8km loop, starting and ending outside Hampton School, which goes around all three schools: Hampton High, Hampton School and LEH. This week, it was run by the competitors anti-clockwise, leading to perhaps a faster start thanks to the 1km straight past LEH, yet a rather slow finish due to the twists and turns which would have to be made crossing the Longford River on a narrow footbridge: all this would have to be considered by the runners if they stood a chance at winning.
How does a handicap race work? There is a staggered start based on everyone’s personal best times for the course, with the slower runners starting off first and the faster runners chasing them down. Hopefully resulting in a tight finish with all the athletes predicted to end around the same time.
There was a good turn out of both pupils and teachers alike. Fortunately for the other competitors, the swift-footed Mr McTernan could not race, and instead he helped Mr Clarke with the timing. Congratulations to Ms Czumaj who won the handicap race and well done to Ed Mason for holding off a rapidly approaching Charlie Coulter, who himself got the second fastest time of the day with 9 minutes 30.