Knole Running

The meeting point at London Bridge station for Mr Collins and the valiant team of runners was one of the last signs of civilisation before descending into the mad world of competitive school cross-country. A cold grey morning held sights that few in their right minds would have withstood: teenagers frantically running around in preparation for the race, stretching every muscle that they knew how to stretch, and trying not to think about treacherous terrain and immense pain that lay before them.

The Knole Run was first introduced in the early 1970s at Sevenoaks School. The course spanned a distance of five kilometres for the girls and ten kilometres for the boys in a looped, hilly, muddy circuit. The Year 12 and Year 13 competitors had no idea what they were in for, until the moment that they were lined up to start. The gunshot sounded and an avalanche of runners was released downhill. Soon the mob had become an orderly line, which gradually began to stretch out as the runners found their pace up the ups and down the downs on twisting and turning through forest and field alike. There was a lot of camaraderie between the runners, some who shouted words of encouragement to their fellow runners, whether they were teammates or not. This sense of community is exactly what makes races like this worth running.

Even so, after coming out of the race alive, one brave sixth former said, “it was torture, man, absolute torture”. Despite this, the team found themselves extremely proud with their 23rd position ahead of some of the big name schools on the cross country circuit. Iona and Leo were the top students from HWSF. In an impromptu statement for the press, Mr Collins said, “seeing Harris Westminster pupils competing toe to toe with the top runners from public schools around the country made me immensely proud”.

This is evidently the start of a long-running tradition and legacy for Harris Westminster.

Reflection by Jonas Martin and Leo Schenke

Girls Team Alana Alberto-Assis, , Iona Chadda, Saharla Gibson, Kirsten Miles, Salsa Montague
Boys Team Ali Abdulzahra, Ludo Bello, Hugo Dodd, Jonas Martin, Leo Schenke, Lewis Warren, Dean Yang

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