Athletics at St Paul’s is now a mainstream summer sport. Close to 200 boys are involved in athletics for their weekly games half (an afternoon dedicated to games options) and there is specialist coaching in all of the various track and field disciplines. This year’s squad has to be one of the most competitive school teams in the country. There were early season successes at the Achilles relays, Radley relays and the Cholmeley Shield fixture, and these were followed by notable results in the second half of the season.
The Lord Burghley Trophy event coincided with public exams but, after a four-hour study session on the Saturday morning, the side was fully ready for the challenge. Last year, Epsom had triumphed for the third year in a row and Tonbridge had also edged us out. This year, thanks to remarkable performances, both individual and team, we emerged victorious by a 34 point margin — the first time we have won this particular meeting. The final scores were: St Paul’s 654, Epsom 620, Tonbridge 596.
At the Middlesex championships, Hugo Fleming (Year 11), Tristen McFarlane (9), Alastair Prenn (11), Sam Shindler-Glass (10) and Willem Van der Eems (9) were nominated to represent Richmond Borough. Hugo has since been selected to represent Middlesex at the English Schools Athletics championships this month, where he carries our hopes for a medal to go alongside his English indoor Under-17 800m silver. Tristen won a silver in the 80m hurdles. Sam ran a personal best to finish 4th in the 1500m and will compete again, in the same age category, next year.
The last two meetings of the season were at Charterhouse and Tonbridge. These fixtures allowed the younger members of the club to shine and St Paul’s won both. The team also enjoyed particular success in the relays, demonstrating some slick changeovers in the 4x100m and excellent stamina and determination in the 4x400m. Richard Mathieson (Year 11) broke the school Long Jump record with a tremendous leap of 6.24 metres. The final three races of the season (all 4x400m) were won by Paulines at Tonbridge, a fitting way to bring an outstanding season to a close.
We are grateful to the fine hospitality shown by our hosts throughout the season: Brighton College, Charterhouse, Eton, Harrow, Radley and Tonbridge.