A total of 12 schools sent teams for this year’s Bicester Schools Primary Schools Cross Country Running Competition jointly organised by North Oxfordshire School Partnership and assisted by Bicester Athletic Club held recently at Bicester School.  The Bicester Schools also provided a number of young leaders who helped out with marshalling. 

This is an annual event which is often the first taste of athletic competition for many of the children competing.  The weather played its part providing a warm and sunny day but not too hot for the competitors.  The races provided their fair share of hustle bustle at the start with some tumbles.  One athlete lost a shoe but still managed to get round to complete their race.    

This year’s event incorporated a total of 4 races covering year 3 and 4 pupils and year 5 and 6 pupils, one each for boys and girls with, races run over distances approximately 1m to 1.2km.  There was a total of 337 finishers over the 4 events which was similar to the number competing last year.  Placings were also up for grabs for the North Oxfordshire final with the top 4 teams and top 20 individual placers in each race making the final.  

Bure Park has been a consistently strong competitor in the overall team competition over the years and were the reigning team champions.  This year they faced a strong challenge from Kings Meadow.

Race 1 was the year 3/4 girl’s race and there was a cracking start for Bure Park as they produced the individual winner who clocked an impressive 4 mins 53.27secs.  With the scoring 4 achieving places of 8th, 17th and 18th, Bure Park led the team standings after race 1 with 44 points.  The individual runner up was from Longfields clocking 5mins 1.10secs for the 1km circuit and her fellow team members placed well in 4th, 23rd and 37th which was good enough for 3rd team place.  Southwold supplied the bronze medal winner (5mins 10.7secs) just 0.4secs ahead of the second Longfields finisher.  However, it was Brookside with finishers in 6th, 7th ,20th and 21st who snatched the year 3/4 girl’s second team spot with 54 points.  The other qualifier for the regional final in this event was Kings Meadow in 4th.

The winner of the year 3/4 boy’s race ran a very well-judged race.  Running for Chesterton, he maintained a strong constant pace throughout the final stages of the race to pull way from the rest of the field to win in an impressive 4mins 13.93secs.  This set up a close finish for the other medal placings with individual runner up spot going to Bure Park (4mins 22.92secs) and Kings Meadow taking the individual bronze medal (4mins 23.97secs).  However, with all of their scoring finishers making the top ten in 4th, 9th and 10th respectively Kings Meadow were the leading 3/4 boy’s team with 26 points.  However, it was a close run affair with Bure Park, who had three runners in the top ten, amassing 31 points, just 5 points adrift of Kings Meadow.  Launton and Longfields were locked together in 3rd place with 61 points apiece.  After two events Bure Park were on course to retain their overall team title leading with 75 points, 19 ahead of Kings Meadow with Longfields back in 3rd on 127 points.

One of the most emphatic wins of the day was in the year 5/6 girl’s race as the winner from Longfields had the race won from a long way out and finishing a comfortable winner in 5mins 17.54secs.  St Edburgs

 supplied the silver medalist position (6mins 28.33secs) with Bure Park providing the bronze medalist (6mins 32.12secs).  Longfields had two further placings in the top 10 and they were year 5/6 girl team winners (56 points).  Although Bure Park had two further placers in the top 10, they were just 4 points adrift of Longfields in 2nd with Kings Meadow taking 3rd place with 71 points.  St Mary’s were the other regional qualfiers in 4th.  Bure Park kept their lead in the overall team trophy competition with 135 points, 30 points ahead of Kings Meadow (165 points) with Longfields back in 3rd (183 points).

The final year 5/6 boy’s race provided the best finish of the day.  With about 200 metres to run the eventual winner from Kings Meadow was in 4th place.  However, he produced a strong finish to take the lead on the home straight and win in 5mins 33.65secs.  Just over a second behind was the silver medalist from Fritwell (5mins 34.94secs) with St Edbergs taking the individual bronze medal (5mins 35.99secs).    St Edbergs and Kings Meadow were the leading year 5/6 boy teams with 33 points apiece with Launton close behind on 37 points and Fritwell also qualifying for the regional final in 4th.  However, with Bure Park down in 6th on 120 points, they lost their overall team lead in the final event with Kings Meadow taking the overall team trophy with 198 points.  They were also the only school with teams placed in the top four in each of the 4 races.  Bure Park had to settle for 2nd place this year on 255points with Longfields sharing 3rd place with Launton (341 points).