ERMYSTED’S Grammar School's Cross-Country team put in a stellar performance to win last Wednesday's Coventry Relays in the War Memorial Park.

Since 1972, King Henry VIII School has hosted what is now regarded by many as the national Inter-Schools Cross Country Relay Race.

The course is over pavement, grass, woodland and usually has quite a few puddles but is largely flat with no significant elevation.

Schools enter their best runners, regardless of their age, although this will usually include predominantly runners in the Sixth Form.

The race has a strong legacy, boasting former competitors of the calibre of Seb Coe, Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, and Richard Nerurkar.

Conditions were nearly perfect with a cloudless sky and hardly a breath of wind, which meant fast times were possible.

Ermysted’s have a great crop of athletes at the moment with the school recently winning national titles both at cross-country and over the fells, however, this flat relay is a far cry from the mud and hills they are used to.

The students had aspirations of a high single figure placing and set off in determined fashion with year 13 runner Joe Hudson.

This was Joe’s last run in this event and as school captain of cross-country he meant to sign off in style.

He was up with the leaders early on before coming back third of the 55 entries as he ran the individual fourth fastest time of the day.

Fellow cross-country captain Tom Barrett was equally determined and ran his best race this year to come home third but within reach of the leaders.

Year 11 Sebastian Seggar-Staveley was next and he quickly lifted the team into the lead and even came back with a time cushion.

It was now that the threat from behind became more evident as last year’s winners, the Judd School from Kent, made their move.

They edged a little closer on the fourth leg, but Will Thompson ran well to pass on a slight lead to Louis Hudson on Ermysted's penultimate leg.

Their runner was fast and caught Louis but he wasn't for giving up and stuck in to ensure the deficit was only about ten seconds going in to the final stage.

Ermysted’s had Alex Thompson on the anchor leg and he is in tremendous form but is only in year10.

The three-year age gap didn’t seem to be their once he set off. From 10 seconds behind to about five ahead at halfway was enough for the Judd teacher to be heard saying “It’s race over, Thompson’s flying”. And sure enough it was as Alex extended his lead to come back 27 seconds clear.

It was then that Ermysted's coaches realised just how phenomenal a team performance it was as Ermysted’s broke the course record by a full 46 seconds.

This was absolutely incredible bearing in mind that this event has been going for 48 years and over the same course for the last 29 years.

Ermysted’s B team of Arthur Peel, Joe Carnelley, Ben Rees, Jath Lee, Sam Thom and Donnabhan Rudden showed the strength in depth the school has as they were 22nd team beating most of the other school’s A teams.