Both schools had teams in Junior (Years 7 and 8) and Intermediate (Years 9 and 10) age groups, and hopes were high that a couple of teams could reach the podium. After a hugely exciting afternoon in glorious Kent sunshine, both schools’ Junior teams had won, with the DCGS Intermediates second and the DCHS Intermediates third. Chiltern Harriers athletes made up the bulk of all four teams.
In the Junior Girls team Chiltern brought Abbie Henderson, Holly Henderson, Rosa Williams, Hannah Ashby and Alice Brown, and the Junior Boys included Matt Aldred, Thomas Redmond, Teague Eaton and Nathan Sweeney. Oakley Denson was missing with injury issues. So of the 22 runners taking part, 18 were Harriers.
Each of the four races contained teams of six athletes from 27 schools from the length and breadth of England that had qualified through county and regional rounds earlier in the autumn. The course followed playing fields and an undulating track through woodland to make an interesting race circuit.
The first race was the Intermediate Girls and the DCHS team were led home by Orla Williams in fourth. The other scorers were Olivia Cameron in 17th, Jinaan Lockwood in 45th and Millie Hughes in 71st. Olivia Lee was 95th and Katie Repper 107th. The points total of 137 was enough for third and the first of a complete set of podium finishes.
Focus then turned to the Junior Boys who, from watching the girls race, realised that a fast start was crucial. So Matt Aldred and Thomas Redmond were in the leading group from the off. At the final loop five boys were in contention but Matt timed his burst to perfection to win by just one second. Thomas came in fifth and the rest of the team was Teague Eaton 29th, Nathan Sweeney 47th and Joe O’Brien 76th. Results later came over the tannoy that the DCGS team had won by just one point.
It was the Junior Girls next and the DCHS team was perhaps the highest rated going into the race. The girls didn’t disappoint with a dominant display and a comfortable win. Abbie Henderson was fourth, Holly Henderson ninth, Rosa Williams 16th, Olivia Edwards 17th, Hannah Ashby 21st and Alice Brown 33rd. This from a field of 154.
DCGS’s Intermediate Boys team featured Angus Williams and Alex Aldred, both highly rated on a national level. The two were well up going into the final lap and Alex in third and Angus in fourth laid the basis for team silver. Alex Johnson 40th, Dan Cox 44th and Tom Hunter 70th completed the team.
The schools were well supported by parents and staff.