Woodbridge School runner breaks 44-year-old course record as The Judd School and New Hall School take team titles
Two months after finishing sixth in the under-20 men’s race at the European Cross Country Championships in Brussels, Henry Dover ran the outstanding leg at the prestigious King Henry VIII Relays in Coventry on Wednesday (Jan 31) to take down a course record which had stood for 44 years, James Taylor reports.
Dover’s inclusion for Woodbridge School, having agonisingly missed out on his home Cup Final earlier this winter, ensured an intriguing contest for this prestigious event around War Memorial Park, and there was the added interest of St Michael’s College, who made the trip from Enniskillen with a team of young Irish internationals.
But none could match the strength in depth of favourites The Judd School, who made it four boys’ wins in a row, while the New Hall girls made it a golden debut for the Essex squad. Neither team had it all their own way though, as both had to fight through after having been behind in the early stages.
There were fireworks from the outset of the six-stage boys’ race, with national champion Dover against the in-form Quinn Miell-Ingram. The course seemed fast, though not perfect, with a few steps of mud in the early woodland section and quite a stiff breeze, albeit behind the athletes for much of the perimeter. Course record conditions? Many seasoned spectators were doubtful.
So it was a magnificent run for Dover (10:45), who stormed round to lop five seconds off Neil Appleby’s historic mark. This was in spite of a ‘moment’ in the woods where the Woodbridge man’s sense of navigation and balance almost deserted him!
Dover should go into the Armagh 5km on February 8 for a UK under-20 record attempt with confidence. Abingdon’s Miell-Ingram just about kept in touch to record a fast 10:54, pushing spectating brother Rowan down to 10th on the all-time list. Jack Sandersen (Giggleswick) had a lonely run in 11:14, which would remain the third-fastest of the day. Seb Beedell (11:30) then came through for Bourne followed by a train of other likely contenders including Calday Grange, Harrow and the Irish St Michael’s.
Eventual winners Judd were further back than hoped, even behind their own B-team! Fortunately, Mark Bridger ran a pleasing 12:03 to gain ground on the main contenders on leg two. At the front, Ralph Allen took…