Watching our runners perform in the ‘Rawthey Run’ yesterday at Sedbergh, I was reminded of the valuable part that school running can play in developing character and grit.
No school does running quite like Sedbergh does. It is in the school’s DNA. This is apparent immediately when you walk into one of the boarding houses. While in other schools the walls might be covered in inspirational posters and advice to wash your hands, at Sedbergh they are covered in map extracts giving details of the various run routes available to the pupils. As we arrived on Wednesday evening, the boys in the House (and the staff) had just returned from a ten mile ‘Epic’; covered in mud, a fair few cuts and grazes, wide grins and exhausted looks.
Listening to Dan Harrison, Head of Sedbergh School, speak after the conclusion of the Rawthey Run yesterday, I was delighted to hear him talk about values and how they are brought out and developed by running. He spoke of kindness, resilience, ambition, optimism, humility and the importance of not over celebrating, and this resonated with me.
I am a runner now, but I’ve not always been. I think it is fair to say that running has been one of the most precious discoveries of my adult life. I might not be fast like some of our runners were yesterday. I might not win any races...ever. But, I have learned through running that we can achieve much more than we think possible if we just keep on keeping on and have a little self belief.
So watching our runners compete yesterday I was utterly humbled by the degree to which they were willing to commit to a pastime which can ultimately bring both joy and suffering. They did exactly as they were told, each of them chipping away at the runners in front to gain places steadily. They understood perfectly that each of them had a contribution to make towards the team result. They understood that for the team, the difference between coming 40th or 39th is just as important as the difference between 2nd and 1st.
John F Gilmour