Blackhorse girls triumph in cross country

Published on: 08 Jun 2015

Blackhorse girls triumph in cross country

THIS Girl Can! That’s the slogan for a campaign launched this year by the Government and Sport England aimed at getting young women involved in sport and changing the false perception that sport was something ‘just for the boys’.
Well, they’ve definitely got the message at Blackhorse Primary in Emersons Green, where the school’s girls’ cross-country team won all three girls’ team trophies  (in the Year 3/4, Year 5 and Year 6 team races) at the S Glos PE Association cross-country championship for the THIRD consecutive year.
The Blackhorse girls also achieved three individual medals (bronze for new team member, Lucy Norman, in the Year 4 race; bronze for Megan Price in the Year 5 girls’ race and gold for county team runner, Olivia Hussey, in the Year 6 race (her third medal at the annual event, having previously won when in Years 4 and 5).
Head teacher, school team coach and Ultra-marathon runner, Simon Botten, explained the Blackhorse approach: “The best thing about endurance running is that anyone can become good at it - all you need is effort and practise, attributes which we champion at Blackhorse.
“Our cross-country team train all year round (even in the snow and hail) and follow the Kenyan training approach which encourages runners of all ages to train together - with the youngest expected to ‘just keep up’.
“Track Team [the name of the school’s cross-country team] is the most popular after school club we offer with 50 children of all abilities turning up each week to train - and a long waiting list to join. Although our boys’ team is also very strong (having won the Grange Cross-country league for the past three years) it has been great to see so many girls take to the sport, with older girls like Olivia’s success leading to our youngest girls queuing up to join and mimic their older role-models.”
It’s not just fellow children who are role models to the Blackhorse girls. Many of the female staff are also runners, most recently Year 1 teacher Flo Hopwood, who last month achieved a personal best time of 1hour 38 minutes at the Two-Tunnels Half-Marathon in Bath; Reception and Year 6 teachers Mel Horn and Hannah Klinkert who took part in last year’s Bristol 10k race ,and Year 4 teacher Georgie Burke, who completed three consecutive half-marathons in the autumn and who is training for the inaugural Bristol to Bath Marathon in October.
Blackhorse now go on to defend their Grange Cross-Country League title - a series of races which both the boys and girls teams have won for the past three years.
• Mums: if you’ve been inspired to lace up those trainers and provide running role-models for your daughters, there are free, female-friendly 5k Park Runs every Saturday morning at Pomphrey Hill and local, all women, running club ‘Sole Sisters’ hold regular evening runs for women of all abilities around Downend, Mangotsfield and Emersons Green. For more information go to: www.solesistersrc.co.uk or www.parkrun.org.uk/pomphreyhill .

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