ON Sunday (26/09/21), Ermysted’s had another fantastic day on the Howgill Fells over-looking Sedbergh. This was the thirteenth National Championships supported by the Fell Running Association and this year, hosted by Sedbergh School, Sedbergh.

The Y7 were first away and set off at a fair lick across a flat field until they met the hill and suddenly everyone knew the difference between a fell race and other cross-country races.

Even the leaders were brought to little more than walking pace as they strained manfully to get to the top.

This was the first race for most of this age group and so very much an unknown quantity as far as the form book goes. So it was pleasing to get the day off with an almost perfect start as George Marsh in his first ever Fell race came back first to claim the Y7 National Schools’ Fell Running title.

His team backed him up superbly with Will Pease coming seventh and Will Oakden fifteenth for a low score of 20 points for the total positions of the first three runners home and Ermysted’s first team title of the day. In fact this team was so impressive that had they been allowed the B team of Will Farrell 15th, Daniel Hood 16th and Toby Nixon 21st would have come third team.

The Y8&9 team were next and there were high hopes for Tom Hooper, Ewen Wilkinson and Daniel Ridehalgh who have all been doing well for their clubs in BOFRA and FRA events. Hooper was well to the fore on the steep climb but local star Jack Sanderson from Settle High School looked strong. Ermysted’s team looked in good shape as Wilkinson and Ridehalgh were only just behind the leaders on the climb.

On the descent, Sanderson was too strong and pulled away for a comfortable win but Hooper maintained his form and came back in the runners-up spot. Ridehalgh had a blinder to finish seventh, with Wilkinson completing the team in 15th place for a low total of just 24 points good enough for Ermysted’s second title. The non-scorers were Rowan Box 31st and Seth Linacre 44th.

The Y10/11 race saw Ermysted’s runners again at the sharp end of the race. Sam Bentham, Dougie Segger-Staveley and Lachlan Wills were all around 10th place on the climb. That close packing was to prove decisive in the team competition when Sam Bentham came back 7th, Dougie Segger-Staveley 9th and Lachlan Wills 12th. Their total was low with just 28 points but so had Calday Grange from the Wirral. Tie breaks are decided by the team whose last counter finishes higher in the race and Lachlan’s 12th place was better than Calday’s runner, hence a third team title by the narrowest of margins for Ermysted’s. Ermysted's non scorers were Samesh Chotai 27th and Oscar Smyth 35th.

The Seniors were running nearly five miles, with 450 metres of climb. This was therefore no mean achievement to even get round and with the difficulties training due to Covid many of the older age group voted with their feet and gave this race a miss. There were only therefore 56 runners from both boys and girls at this age group. Ermysted’s only had track star Alex Thompson running who managed a creditable top ten finish. The team race was won by Harrow School showing the true national nature of the races and underscores just how impressive a performance it was from Ermysted’s to win the other three boy’s titles.

The icing on the cake then came at the final presentation as we found out the results of the overall schools competition. Ermysted’s find it hard to win the overall event as we only have boys. However with such good showing in the four races, Ermysted’s were indeed crowned ‘Best Overall School’.