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Steeplechase 2019

The tide of tradition met the currents of connectivity this Thursday as Eastbourne College’s steeplechase (cross country) got modern with a new chip timing system introduced to enhance the annual event.

Close to 600 pupils and staff took part in the race which sees athletes tackling the deep hollows and drawn-out slopes of the nearby South Downs National Park.

This is the first official inter-house event of the year and, as a whole-school event, pupils of all abilities take part with a wonderful atmosphere of camaraderie and community between all participants.

The course starts in Whitbread Hollow from where pupils race along colour-coded, flagged paths, taking the route that applies to their age group. Race distances vary from around 3.1km up to a testing 8km and pupils climb up to a total elevation of 120m above sea level before descending to the finish line on Western Lawns.

This year, a number of Eastbourne companies were involved to help enhance the event experience.

Pupils were equipped with the latest Race Result Active and RFID Passive Race Timing systems, provided by Velopace Race Timing; facilitating timing and split-timing accuracy down to 0.01seconds. This meant that for the first time in 150 years, the College could award a ‘king of the hill’ medal to the pupil who had the fastest time over the most challenging climb on the course. The inaugural winner was U18 England Hockey player, Ben Fox.

Members of the Ironbourne team, the organisers behind this year’s new-look Eastbourne Triathlon, were also on hand and provided the winners podium, finish-line ribbon and funnel scrims which caught the eye of onlookers relaxing in the sun on Western Lawns.

Against a backdrop of blue skies and deep-blue seas, everyone showed grit and good character in equal measure.