KTH's Josh Cara wins National Prep Champs

National Prep Schools' Cross Country Championships - 2010

Parents, teachers and top sports performers cheered home hundreds of youngsters taking part in the 18th National Prep School Cross Country Championships hosted by Malvern College on Sunday. Nick Goolab, the reigning European Cross Country Silver Medalist, presented the prizes and signed autographs, giving extra inspiration to all the 9-13 year olds taking part.

The traditional course for this annual event, over the Malvern Common and through the College grounds, also proved to be a winner in this beautiful part of Worcestershire. The course, while wet under foot, provided an exciting cross-country experience for pupils travelling from as far afield as Kent, Norfolk, Cumbria and Cornwall.

Stephen Winter, Master in Charge of Cross Country at The Beacon School in Amersham, Buckinghamshire said,

'The boys performed admirably on a fantastic cross country course. We had a great day and to achieve 2nd and 3rd place in the boys U11 event was brilliant - we are already looking forward to next year'.

Millfield Prep School also had a very successful day with Lydia Lavallin and Amy Cooper winning the U11 and U13 Girls’ individual events and team victories in the U13 Boys’ and U13 Girls’ events.

John Etherington, teacher in charge of cross country at Millfield Prep School was understandably very pleased with his pupils’ efforts.

'The course is always tough but it is a true cross country test. The success today was down to the hard work of the children - they are all so keen and enthusiastic and have trained hard but always have fun. We will be back again next year are really looking forward to it'.

Athletics champion, Nick Goolab, who had successfully retained his own U20 National Cross Country title the day before, was equally impressed with the venue and the level of competition.

‘The running today was of such a high standard. Races were tight with everyone finishing close together. There was a great atmosphere and it was good to see the parents and spectators getting so involved. The facilities at Malvern College are top-class, there is no other way to describe it!', said Nick after the presentations.

It was not just about the winning however. All participants received a goodie bag and commemorative t-shirt, ensuring that every youngster taking part was rewarded for the effort they had made. “This is so important for encouraging sport for young people of all abilities” said Christina Boxer, Director of Girls’ Sport and Director of Sports Development at Malvern, “ Competing is about self improvement and was summed up wonderfully by a junior pupil who finished a little further down the field and who exclaimed "Sir! I've improved 5 places on last year!" - he was 139th on the day”.

Malvern College Headmaster, Antony Clark was very enthusiastic about the spirit in which the races had taken place. “Malvern College hosted over 45 schools and a thousand people on our magnificent campus. All the runners seemed to have enjoyed the day and were a credit to their prep schools”.

The last race of the afternoon included a tough additional loop taking the U13 boys up to the very top of the Malvern Common. 129 boys completed the 3.2km course within 20 minutes with the top 23 finishing in under 15 minutes indicating good strength and depth. Unsurprisingly the field began to stretch out, especially after the long climb to the top and five boys started to look the favourites for the top places with about half a kilometer to go.

The eventual winner Joshua Cara of Spratton Hall finished very strongly, 11 seconds ahead of the rest of the field in a time of 13.40. Charlie Martin (Millfield Prep School) in 2nd place (13.51) ten seconds ahead of Harry Spawforth (Danes Hill) in third in a time of 14.01. There was a close battle for 4th (14.04) and 5th places (14.05) with Will Roud (Dulwich Prep Cranbrook) just finishing ahead of Harry Leleu (Seaford). 6th place went to Benjamin Horgan from Lambrook.

Millfield Prep School won the team event, with Spratton Hall in second and Parkside School in 3rd place. Maidwell Hall, winners of the Small Schools Trophy, finished 4th in the overall competition.