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Dales schoolchildren under starter’s orders

[Monday 26 January 2009]
Dales schoolchildren under starter’s orders
Dales schoolchildren under starter’s orders

IT’S racing...but not as you would normally recognise it: North Yorkshire racecourses and North Yorkshire Sports Partnerships are collaborating to stage winter races for primary school children where the hooves of horses normally thunder.

The first event is at Thirsk Racecourse on Monday 2 February at 10.30am. The Thirsk School Sports Partnership Primary Cross-Country Championships will see some 400 children from school years 3 – 6 taking part in four races, two each for boys and girls. The younger children will race over 1200m (about three quarters of a mile) with the older ones racing over the ‘metric mile’ of 1500m.

The races are team events with schools allowed to enter a maximum of 10 children, but only their first four will score. The lowest aggregate will win each race.

We’re delighted to be able to help the local schools with this innovative event and, who knows, the runners of today may become the racegoers of tomorrow

Christopher Tetley - Thirsk Racecourse

The Championships are being run by Sports Partnership staff with the help of young leaders from Thirsk School and Sixth Form College. Christopher Tetley, Manager of Thirsk Racecourse, said: ‘We’re delighted to be able to help the local schools with this innovative event and, who knows, the runners of today may become the racegoers of tomorrow.’

The next event is at Catterick Racecourse on Thursday 5 March, with a broadly similar format. There will be an even bigger turnout here, with up to 1000 children taking part in races for each year group from year 3 to year 6. This is the fourth year the Risedale Competition has been held, growing year on year. The young leaders assisting these Championships will come from the Partnerships’ secondary schools.

Hilary Conway and Jo Marston Partnership Development Managers said : ‘We’re really grateful for the co-operation offered by the managers of Thirsk and Catterick Racecourses. They have been eager to help and provide all the facilities necessary for what are really quite large scale events. We’re all looking forward to two tremendous days out.’

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