County Cross Country Championships 2020 took place on the 12th February.  The event saw 500 runners from all over Cumbria congregate at Hunter Hall School in Penrith. This was the first time the school had hosted this prestige event and with storm Ciara having blown through just days before, Wednesday’s blue skies provided perfect conditions for running.

The course, with wall and stream crossings, proved to be a real hit with many of the children. As did the hot chocolate, cake and sausage butties! The annual race provides children from year 4, 5 & 6 children with the chance to test their metal against the counties finest and this year’s competition was no different.

The Cumbria Athletics – County Cross Country Championships 2020 event comprises both borough and school team events, as well as offering the top twelve in each of the year 5 & 6 races, a chance to represent Cumbria at the National Cross Country Championships to be held at Prestwold Hall, Leicestershire (21st March, 2020).

Year 4 Races: First home for Eden in the Y4 boys’ race was Sam Abbey (20th) from Long Marton.  In the Y4 girls race Minnie Rowley, Hunter Hall, claimed the first medal of the afternoon coming home in an impressive 3rd. Cerys Robinson (13th), Layla Dickinson (10th) and Anna Hamilton (11th) all Penruddock, Antonia Holt Stott (26th) and Anna Ford (33rd), both Hunter Hall helped ensure the Eden were the 2nd placed borough. Hunter Hall (108 pts) finished 2nd in the school competition.

Year 5 Races:Matthew Hetherington, Hunter Hall, battle hard to grab the 2nd Eden medal of the afternoon, when he produced a strong finish to romp home in 3rd place. Casey Briscoe (11th), Piers Sweeney (12th) and Fergal Rowley (24th) all Hunter Hall, were the next Eden runners home and guaranteed Hunter Hall were again crowned county champions in the schools’ race. Eden finished 4th borough.

In the girls’ Year 5 race Matilda Harling (5th), Hunter Hall, was the first Eden runner home with Tabitha Paul (10th), Warcop Primary, the next back. Anna Cunningham (17th), Hunter Hall and Imogen Birtles (23rd), Kirkby Stephen Primary helped ensure Eden finished 2nd borough. Here Langwathby were the highest placed Eden school in 4th.

Year 6 Races: Toby Robinson produced a masterful performance to claim the next Eden medal when he romped home in 2nd during the year 6 boys’ race. Will Brough (3rd) and Daniel Daniels (4th), Clifton. The boys’ high finishing positions helping Eden claim another 2nd place in the borough competition.

While in the schools’ competition, Warcop Primary were the highest placed Eden school (4th).  In the Year 6 girls’ race Lucy Hetherington (2nd) dug deep on the hills before producing a speedy long run home and another well-deserved Eden medal. Madeleine Burke (19th), Langwathby Primary, was the next Eden runner home. As a borough Eden finished 4th, with the top Eden school on this occasion being Hunter Hall (2nd).

It rounded off a fantastic afternoon of racing. The Eden Valley should be very proud of all its runners; we will be well represented when the Cumbrian team heads to the national championships later in March.

Whilst the action on the course was impressive, equally impressive was the whole school effort involved in running the day.  A huge thank you must go to John Pouncenby (Cumbria Schools’ Athletics Association)  and the Hunter Hall community, for putting on such a fabulous event.  The volunteers and staff involved; marshalling, serving refreshments, setting up the course and parking cars. For a small school like Hunter Hall to have two thirds of upper school pupils running; three teams place 2nd or above; 3 pupils claim individual medals; and at least 5 pupils go on to represent Cumbria at the National Championships, it is a sensational achievement. As the masses made their way home, one visitor was overheard commenting ‘What an amazing little school’. They are not wrong!