Dozens of young runners from Courtfields and Wellington School – and quite a few of their young-at-heart teachers – revived both the spirit of last year’s Olympics and a historic race in a return of the Wellington Monument Run this week.
The idea was former staff member David Lungley’s. He explained: “I was a Wayfinder volunteer at the Olympics last summer and it really did stir up some pride. I wondered what the schools might do as a legacy which was the hope of the Olympic organisers. Re-establishing the race to the Monument and back seemed an obvious idea.”
To mark the occasion and provide inspiration for the runners, Wellington School assembled a prestigious group of former staff and students – all of whom have impressive athletic records of achievement at school, in the county and nationally as coaches and competitors – to introduce to the runners at the start of the race. Old Wellingtonian John Moore competed in three successive Olympics, in 1956, 1960 and 1964, following in the footsteps of his father, George, who took part in the 1948 London Olympics. John’s son, Mark, competed in the 1984 Games in Sarajevo and, in being the third generation of the same family to compete at the Games, established a unique record.
At the end of the race the winners of the boys’ and girls’ events were presented with a trophy made by Dr Lungley from an embossed relay baton that each volunteer was awarded at the end of the 2012 Olympics.
Headmaster Martin Reader said, “I’m so pleased that we’re able to revive this event and have a proper cross-country challenge around one of the town’s great features. I’m delighted too that a team from Courtfields has joined us and to see that the Olympic spirit has spread through the whole community.”
Tribute was paid to local farmers, Bill Rowe, John Kindley and Ken Coles who provided a safe route for the 5 mile run and to Somerset Wildlife Trust and the National Trust for their support.
The Senior Girls’ race was won by Daisy Hunt; Robin Fieldhouse won the Senior Boys’ event. Ross Clark was the Inter Boys’ winner, coming home ahead of Robin Fieldhouse, and Jade Clark was the winner of the Inter Girls’ competition.
Report & Photos: Gill Paltridge