On 27 June 2022 two thousand pupils from 24 Catholic schools based across Leeds came together at Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School in Meanwood to participate in the first ever Catholic Schools Cross Country Championship and a mass ‘Fun Run’.
The event is the brainchild of Leeds Catholic head teachers who are keen to get children back being active, competing and having fun. After two years of disruptions to school sport, enhancement activities, and engagement of pupils with one another, it was decided by that schools needed to do something active and exciting for the children of Leeds.
Some Year 3 to Year 6 pupils ran competitively, representing their schools to try and win points. The school with the largest accumulation of points was crowned the Cross Country Champions for Leeds Catholic Schools 2022. The vast majority of pupils, however, were simply running the 2.5km course for fun; a massed start of 2000 runners across a testing course feeling the sense of achievement of having finished with so many other runners.
The event partner, Peter Duffy Ltd, sponsored the Fun Run to ensure all children participating received a T-shirt to keep, reminding them of what they achieved on the day. Leeds Schools Sports Association also supported the event as part of its work assisting sport and activity across the city.
Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School arranged for GCSE and Cambridge National Students to manage and run the event as part of their Physical Education exam courses. The participating primary schools brought children of ages ranging from four and five year-olds in Reception class up to the ten and even year olds of Year 6.
Organiser Peter McQuillen-Strong, who is Executive Head Teacher of St Philip’s and Holy Family Catholic Primary Schools in Leeds said: ‘This is a new initiative that we hope will become an annual event, inspiring pupils to develop the love and habit of exercise in their future lives.’
A photo gallery from the event is available to view at https://www.patricksicephotography.co.uk/blog/catholic-schools