RUNNING: A SCHOOL'S cross-country team raced to national championship glory - by taking it easy!
Helsby High's under-15s won the inter-mediate boys' event in the English Schools' Cup in Middlesbrough, where their low-key approach paid unexpected dividends.
Head of PE, Dennis Evans said: 'We were very relaxed going into the event. We never thought we would win it - we were thinking maybe top three and it was perhaps because of that we did so well.
'The message was just to make sure they didn't come away from a national final without running on top form.
'I told them to forget about results and positions and just make sure they went out and ran their own races and one they were happy with. Wherever they came was going to be great.'
Lawrence Walker, last year's English Schools' Junior Cup champion, led the charge over a 3.5k 'mixed-grass' course, mostly through school fields.
He took second place, despite at 13 years of age being at the bottom age of the intermediate age group, which is for Year Nine and Year 10 pupils.
Sammy Bzeu, who is also a talented footballer with Stockport County, came 22nd with Peter Robinson 26th and Jack McCabe, another Year Nine athlete, the fourth and final counter in 41st place.
Jon Egerton (77th) and Tom Ward (139th) had both played their part in the team effort and indeed in previous rounds.
Tom, in fact, took a major role in the Chester Road school's qualification for the national finals with seventh place in the regional event at Kenilworth, but he unfortunately was troubled by stomach cramps in Middlesbrough.
'He is normally very close to Lawrence but you could see when he was running he wasn't happy. He had a bad stitch and was in desperate trouble, but still finished,' said Mr Evans.
'It was an incredible performance from all six of them. We are very happy.'