By Henry Fagan
Two years ago, on Saturday 14 March 2020 (the date of the last championships), five Hampton athletes competed in the English Schools’ Cross Country Championships in Liverpool. Two years and three lockdowns later, three Hamptonians travelled to Kent to to represent Middlesex in the 2022 edition, and to challenge nearly 2,000 other athletes from schools from Cumbria to Cornwall. It was a fast and flat course with little to no mud due to the scorching sun overhead – optimal conditions for fast times.
The first Hamptonian to race was Second Year Marcus Solomon. Despite his U15 race category containing both Second and Third Year pupils, making him one of the youngest in the field, he ran superbly to finish a staggering 13th out of 330, rendering him most likely in the top five runners in the country for Second Years!
Next up was the intermediate boys race. Even though Freddie Bate is predominantly an 800m runner by nature, he did very well to qualify for these championships. Unfortunately, Freddie felt under the weather before the race, causing him to stop twice. In spite of this, he still managed to finish, showing true grit and determination.
Finally, Henry Fagan of the Lower Sixth (the writer) competed in the last race of the day – the senior U19 race (comprising both Lower and Upper Sixth runners). Having started near the back of the field, I worked my way up to finish in 155th out of 291 runners (14 places higher than Mr Clarke who placed 169th at the same age!), placing the Middlesex team fourth in the country.
Thank you to the Middlesex coaches, including Mr Clarke, Mr McTernan and Mr Lucas. Well done to all the athletes and good luck to all Hampton runners as the Cross Country season ends and the Track season begins!