The Ledder - 2009
It was like Dunkirk. Well, a little, anyway. 130 runners were chatting away near the Theatre awaiting transport to the start Ledbury Run in Ledbury, but not a sign of the coaches. Mr. Willatt, this being a trivial emergency on his scale of emergencies, and road transport being third rate in his eyes anyway, is already making moves to transport runners by train. Mr. Wheeler (our excellent transport manager), having given up in frustration with the coach company, and whose mind works more along road vehicle lines, is phoning around to unite drivers with spare College transport. Mr. Hookham, more pedestrian, finds his eyes lighting up with the wonderful thought that we could all jog to Ledbury, and then run back again. But a mass of minibuses then turns up, cars pull into sight, and people carriers appear. In the end all runners arrive safely, if a little late, in Mr. Wilce's field ready for the 2010 Ledbury Run. Thank you very much indeed Mr. Wheeler: great job done! (You may note I omit the story about the smaller party that did indeed attempt to take the train, with the almost inevitably sad results that taking a train in the UK has: driver decides he's bored, stops the train at Malvern Station, abandons it, goes home for a nap: you know the sort of thing).
But nevertheless the 2010 Ledbury Run was a stunning event. The sun shone, and there was another excellent turnout as 113 pupil runners and some twenty staff and friends of the College lined up to head immediately uphill and through the narrow gate (you will find references to this narrow gate in Matthew 7: 13-14) that takes runners into Frith Wood. A little too warm in fact for running, Sam Baylis (9) nevertheless quickly emerged as the lead contender and maintained this lead throughout, finishing in 50:54 over a minute and a half in front of second-placed Jamie Paterson (SH). Other boy Ledder Cap winners were Ed Davenhill (1); Alex Betteridge (5); Jannis Fischer (SH); Harry Siviter (1); Harry Dunne (SH); Tomo Saxton (2) and Hugo de Haan (SH). Cap commiserations go to Ferdi BÃ¶ninger (9) who was the next, sadly capless, boy to cross the line.
For the girls, Ros Harvey (6) was similarly in the lead from early on in the race and finished in an excellent time of 62:08. The other girls' Ledder Cap was awarded to Maria Theis, last year's winner who finished in 63:37, just a few seconds slower than her 2008 time. The winning Houses in this year's race were No8 and SH, with Nos 4 and 9 runners up.
My thanks, as ever, go to the many staff, many pupils, and many landowners between here and Ledbury who have helped me to put on this event. Let me mention in particular Mr. Knee this year, for Mr. Knee takes a crucial role each year in the position I like to call "The Middle of Nowhere". He retires at the end of this academic year and here is yet another example of the many, many tasks that he has faithfully undertaken for the College. But I am grateful to you all. If I tried to do it on my own we would end up running a couple of dull laps of the Senior Turf. As it is, we have a wonderful, colourful afternoon out for much of the school, cheering officials, water en route, spectators along the way, and exhausted but generally extremely happy runners.