"Athletics is the true sport for all – it caters for pupils who are long distance running hares, sprinting powerhouses, long levered throwers or who have spring like a kangaroo. It combines the trifecta of physical fitness, technical ability and individual drive to allow pupils to make progress in their event, whether as a relative novice or as an established junior international."

Richard Williams Master in Charge, Athletics and Cross Country


Athletics and Cross Country at Haileybury

At Haileybury, Cross Country is run as a recreational sport in Term 1. With fitness established, Term 2 includes fixtures against other schools and then throughout the Summer, Athletics completes the three term series.

Competition and coaching

For cross country, pupils will work at running one of two, three, five or seven mile loops around the local countryside three times per week, during games. The aim is to improve fitness and build a running base for the following race term. Regular time trials around the three mile loop give the pupils a gauge of their own progress and eight years of previous times have been kept, with a regularly updated leaderboard.

In Term 2, cross country pupils will embark on an individualised training programme, tailored to the racing calendar. Pupils learn how to train for particular competitions and how intervals training can sharpen up their performance. There is still the opportunity to continue as a recreational runner, but most pupils work on their own programmes as competition is available for pupils of all standards.

In Athletics, pupils are split into four main groups run concurrently on three games sessions a week; Sprints and Jumps, Middle Distance, Throwers and Fitness/Core Strength. Pupils are encouraged to learn about their own event, in terms of officiating, rules and regulations, training and technique in order to gain a holistic understanding of their speciality.

Expert coaching is offered from both experienced teaching staff, including ex-international athletes such as Richard Williams (athletics/cross country) and John Whitworth (triathlon), and UKA qualified officials and coaches.

Pupils are encouraged to take full control of their training programmes, with teachers educating pupils in understanding how to make progress in their chosen event.

Cross country fixtures

In Term 2, pupils have the opportunity to compete at a full range of races across the ability range. Top level fixtures include the County Championships, the Knole Run at Sevenoaks, King Henry’s Relays in Coventry for Seniors and the National Schools Cup for Juniors, all attracting schools from countrywide. Smaller races include Winchester’s five school fixture, Radley Relays and Highgate’s Pat Bagnall Trophy.

In addition, when time permits, local races are entered on an individual basis. These include the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park 10km, Royal Parks Half Marathon and Panshanger Parkrun.

Of course, the final cross country fixture of the year is the House Cross Country. This sees all pupils running for their House around the school grounds for the House Cross Country Title.

Athletics fixtures

The mainstay of the season’s fixtures for younger pupils comprises of the mid-week Herts League. Six fixtures across the Summer term against a total of 37 schools, culminates in a plate and final competition for the Herts League Cup. These are supplemented for the Lower School with small, local triangular fixtures.

In the Seniors, the main fixtures include the Butler Shield at Harrow, Achilles Relays in Oxford, Radley Relays, Sevenoaks AA Competition and Hertfordshire County Championships.

Eagerly contested is the House Sports, the final athletics fixture of the year, in which all the pupils run, jump and throw for individual success and the House Athletics Title.

Results and Achievements

Haileybury has had many Hertfordshire County Champions in Athletics, and each year several of these talented Haileyburians are invited to take part in the English Schools Championships. Some – recently Lizzie Bird (Co,1500m) – achieve the quality of performance required to represent England at international school level. At the time of writing, Lizzie was ranked fifth all-time UK in 3000mSC U23 Women, while Old Haileyburian Antonio Infantino won the 200m at the British Indoor Championships 2015.

In recent years, there have been no fewer than 74 new school records across all ages and genders, showing the high calibre and focus of our current pupils. Recent successes at School Level for current pupils include:

Achilles Relays 2013 - 4 x 100mH Champions
Achilles Relays 2013 – 4 x 200m Champions
Achilles Relays 2012 – 4 x 100m Champions
Kai Ariyo (Th) – Herts County TJ Champion 2015
Tobe Rapu (Th) – Herts County LJ Champion 2014
Callum Scutt (Tr) – Herts County LJ Champion 2013

Staff – Cross Country

Richard Williams is Master in Charge of Cross Country and Athletics. He is assisted by fellow members of staff including John Whitworth, Nick Davies, Ruth Sullivan, Olivia Firek and Kathy Mair.

Staff – Athletics

Richard is assisted by: Bill Irving (Throws); Matt Radley (Throws); Kathy Mair (Throws); Ed Bond (Sprint/Jumps); Ben Sadler (Core/Fitness); Kathryn Galbraith (Core/Fitness); John Whitworth (Middle Distance); Olivia Firek (Middle Distance) and Ruth Sullivan (Middle Distance). 

Fixtures and results

To learn more about our forthcoming athletics and cross country fixtures or about recent results, please click the link below:

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