MORE than 800 young athletes battled both sunshine and snow during the Midlands Independent Schools Association Cross Country Championships at Bedstone College, near Knighton, on January 31.

More than 33 schools from across the region, competed in age based categories.

Those under 10 years old ran a 1,500 metre race, distances increased for older competitors, with senior boys running the longest distance of 6,000 metres.

The event is a prelude to the national competition to be held at Princethorpe College where the top 10 runners from each region will compete.

Bedstone College were a top performing school for the Midlands area with 15 qualifiers set to take on the next race.

Sophie Corness, head of admissions, marketing and enterprise at Bedstone College said: “It was wonderful to see so many young athletes coming together. It was obvious that some of these students potentially have a great sporting future ahead of them. Top performing students achieved some fantastic times in challenging conditions.”

Weather conditions were difficult regardless of age and ability, with rain and snow making the woods, fields and stream crossings a real test for the runners.

All competitors ran on both hard and soft terrains, making the course a great learning and strengthening experience for any future athletes.

Bedstone College student Archie Collings came first in the under 14 boys race, running 2,400 metres in 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

Students from Highclare School won the under 10 boys race, the under 10 girls race, as well as the under 18 girls and boys races.

Hallfield School won the under 12 girls race.

Pitsford School won the under 12 boys race.

St Bede’s School won the under 14 girls race.

St Edward’s Senior School won the under 16 girls race and Bowbrook House won the under 16 boys race.

Schools from across the Midlands competed in this fantastic event and all the young athletes can be proud of themselves for navigating a tough race on a muddy course.