The sun shone brightly and the weather was warm as the children left Ivy for the walk to Coopersale Hall School. The annual Epping & Ongar Cross Country Relays were under way and past Ivy teams had always performed well...
First off were the year 3/4 girls team. Olivia was running first leg and immediately hit the front, holding the position for the entire 400m hilly, but thankfully dry course. Second and third leg were run by Annie and Lily and they were against stiff competition, coming in 3rd place for the handover to Dharia. Despite closing a significant gap to second place, she was unable to better an incredible 3rd place finish for our girls, medals were on the cards!
Next off were the year 3/4 boys, and this was a lesson in team tactics and determined running. Beau took the lead in the first leg and they never looked back. First Jacob then Toby and finally Theo increased their lead in every leg and romped home well ahead of all other finishers - first place was never in doubt.
The year 5/6 girls had a lot to live up to.... and that they did! Leila led from the front from the starting whistle, building a healthy lead for the handover to Nicole. This gap was increased further by one of the gutsiest runs I've witnessed for a long time. Yet another slick baton change saw the girls move further ahead, with Hannah now taking her turn at the front and putting yet more clear air between us and the opposition. Eliza took off from the line and the result was never going to change - an amazing victory some 50m ahead of the second placed team.
The next event of the day was the year 5/6 boys race, could we bring home medals in every event? Ben was on the first leg and met very strong opposition, finishing strongly on the uphill section and passing several other runners to hand over in 6th place. Oliver followed Ben, taking another runner in a fast leg to hand the baton over in 5th. Running the penultimate leg was Joshua, and he managed to close in and catch both of the runners in 4th and 5th place. With medals for 3rd place now available, Henry only had to hold the position, catching the second runner some 50m ahead seemed unlikely...
A strong and fast final leg ensued, and Henry gradually closed the gap to second place. Over the last 100m he kicked for home, passed the runner in front and crossed the line to secure our last podium finish in second place.
Finally, our reserve runners had their chance to shine. They had supported all the others without complaint, knowing full well that they were reliant on another athlete dropping out to take their place. A separate race was run with Daisy, Alex and Annabelle representing Ivy against another 10-15 runners from other schools. And shine they did! Alex crossed the line in 3rd place overall, very closely followed by Daisy in 4th, with Annabelle finishing merely seconds behind.
Well done to all our athletes for an immaculate display of talent, perseverance and determination along with excellent behaviour and sportsmanship from all. Thanks for all our supporters who enjoyed a thoroughly pleasant and perfectly thrilling afternoon of inter school sport.
Good luck to Henry and Dharia in the final event of the season, the Essex finals, on 28th March.