332 Kids Run in Scotland’s Biggest Cross-Country Competition at Belhaven Bay

Belhaven Hill School in Dunbar has just welcomed more than 332 runners for the 35th annual Scottish Independent Schools’ Invitational Cross-Country Championships.

This is the biggest cross-country competition in the annual calendar. It is organised and hosted by Belhaven Hill School, the full boarding and day school for 7 to 13-year-olds, at beautiful John Muir Country Park, which, appropriately, overlooks Belhaven Bay.

Thirteen independent schools from Scotland and the north of England entered up to 6 runners into each race for boys and girls, divided into age groups: Under-9s, Under-11s and Under-13s. The routes, which run near the beach and through the woods, cover 1.2, 1.6 and 1.9 miles respectively.

The schools taking part included East Lothian schools, The Compass, Loretto and Belhaven Hill, as well as St Mary’s, Longridge Towers, Merchiston Castle, Fettes Prep, Cargilfield, St George’s, Craigclowan, Ardvreck, St Leonard’s and Edinburgh Academy.

Some 1,200 spectators cheered the runners on over sand dunes and down woodland paths with the sea breeze in the air, and many headed afterwards for tea and prize-giving in Belhaven Hill School’s sports hall.

Medals were awarded to the top three runners in each race and trophies for the winning team in each category. Three records were broken.

Noel Curry of Belhaven Hill School, who organises the competition as well as teaching Classics, says: “This course is the most challenging on the Scottish junior and prep schools’ calendar and is the highlight of the cross-country season.

“Belhaven boys and girls practice running every week and trained for the cross-country by running relays along our local beach and through the woods in their Patrol (house) competitions. Many of them manage the full 4.5-mile route from school out to John Muir Country Park over stiles, bridges, beaches, woodland in all weathers, from wind and snow to the most idyllic coastal sunsets.”

Henry Knight, Belhaven’s Headmaster, adds: “Sport is a vital element of Belhaven Hill’s all-round education, so the boys and girls here are fortunate to benefit from games sessions six days a week. All boys play rugby, hockey and cricket and all girls play netball, hockey and rounders. There are also lots of other sports on the go – football, athletics, cross-country running, swimming, tennis, golf and lacrosse. And, every boy and girl has the opportunity to represent Belhaven Hill in competitive sports’ fixtures.

“We’ve recently enjoyed great successes, winning regional competitions in seven-a-side rugby, hockey and netball, sending representative teams down to prestigious events, and many individuals have gone on to win sports awards to their senior schools.”

Prospective parents and children are invited to visit Belhaven Hill at the next Open Morning & Hockey Festival on Saturday 14th March 2020. Please contact Olivia Reynolds, Registrar and Development Officer (admissions@belhavenhill.com or +44 (0)1368 862785).