AFTER a very challenging two years with no competitive sporting activity for children up and down the country, September 2021 finally saw the return of cross-country racing for Eldwick Primary School.

With some real talent and enthusiasm for the sport within the school, they decided to enter into the Keighley and Craven Schools Cross-Country league for the first time, and not only that, but their girls and boys both came out on top.

The Keighley and Craven Schools XC league provides four cross-country races each winter, between October and March.

It accepts entries from primary and secondary schools across Bradford and the surrounding North Yorkshire area.

Prizes are available for the top three teams and top three individuals over the four races.

The races are open to any ability and the school encouraged any children to participate, as it provides a real sense of achievement for children when they have completed a cross country race.

The children participate as a team of runners and all runners support each other no matter how fast they are.

The school's vision for sports is to encourage all pupils to try a range of different sports.

Below are the race reports from parent volunteer Rebecca Jebb.

Race one: Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley, November 3

The first race of the season was a tough hilly course at Cliffe Castle.

This can be a real mud bath and a challenge for any runner, but our teams were so excited to be out running they didn’t give the conditions a second thought.

The year 5/6 girls ran first and ran amazingly well. Sophie Edwards won the race outright closely followed by Annabelle Lunn and Eloise Temple.

The top three runners in your team score the points so we secured our first 10 Points.

We had 11 girls competing and they all ran amazingly well. The determination and encouragement that all the runners showed was amazing and they should all be very proud of themselves.

The boys were up next and, after cheering the girls on, they knew what to expect.

They too had a great team out in force with 11 runners.

The competition was tough and we managed to gain a second team spot and secure eight points with Thomas Jebb in third, Leo Barker eighth and Daniel Temple in 10th.

Yet again all runners ran amazingly well and showed superb team spirit.

Race Two: Lund Park, Keighley, November 30

The course for the second race was slightly confusing to say the least and the girls had to really concentrate to get it right.

The organisers were short on marshals and a lot of the runners ended up taking a wrong turn and running an extra loop of the course, so a big well done to all the girls who, as they say, ‘went the extra mile’.

The top 3 runners in your school score the points for the team and the three girls (Annabelle, Sophie and Eloise) all came in the top five, so yet again the team prize was Eldwick’s and another 10 points in the bag.

The boys were at a slight advantage to the girls. After having seen some other pupils go off course they knew exactly where to go and, again, Thomas, Leo and Daniel scored in the top eight and secured Eldwick’s first win and 10 points.

This was the last race before the Christmas holidays and racing resumed in February.

Race 3: Cliffe Castle Park, Keighley, February 10

February saw the runners back to Cliffe Castle, which the children really enjoy because of the mud and challenging terrain.

The children knew the course now so were well prepared and as usual the girls were first to race.

We had a team of 10 and the girls managed to secure another 10 points. Annabelle finishing in third, closely followed by Eloise in fourth and then Sophie fifth.

The boys were so busy encouraging the girls that they had to make a mad dash to the start line for their race and again they all ran amazingly well and managed to secure another 10 points for the team, with Thomas third, Daniel sixth and Leo 13th.

Race 4: Marley Playing Fields, March 16

This was a new venue for the final race and it was fast and flat.

This was a challenge for a few of our runners who really thrive on a few hills.

Nevertheless, they gave it their all and the girls managed a top team win to secure another 10 points. The boys, who were missing a few runners, managed fourth team spot this week.

The overall team positions were finalised and it was the top three best scores to count, so Eldwick were crowned champions in the Year 5/6 girls and the Year 5/6 boys.

Girls table:

Eldwick 30 points

Cullingworth 24 Points

Oakworth 20 points

Boys table:

Eldwick 28 points

Burley Oaks 26 points

Silsden 23 points

The individual table also saw success for Sophie Edwards (Y6), who gained a bronze medal, she was closely followed by Annabelle Lunn in 4th overall and Eloise Temple in 6th overall.

Thomas Jebb (Y5) also secured a bronze individual medal and Daniel Temple finished in joint eighth position overall.

A massive well done to each and every runner that represented Eldwick Primary School.

It was a pleasure to be involved with such a wonderful group of children who were not only so very well behaved but who also showed such great team spirit, encouragement, grit and determination to do their very best and encourage others around them.

I look forward to next year’s racing calendar and would encourage anyone to get their child to participate in such a great event.

Mr Lomas, the school's headteacher, added: "The children have relished the opportunity of getting out there and running competitively.

"It has been great to compete against other schools and the friendly rivalry is good to see.

"We want to give everyone the chance to be involved, even if they have not run before, so that they can enjoy an active life, running at whatever pace they choose."