WITH a motto taped to his ankle which read ‘Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’, Winder House’s Archie Campbell took gold in Sedbergh School’s annual Wilson Run.
Campbell enjoyed a commanding lead at Cautley and maintained this advantage throughout the race before using Winner’s Way to gain extra time, posting a finishing time of 1.15.03.
The 18-year-old, who triumphed ahead of second-placed Josef Westgarth (1.17.39) and Ollie Thompson (1.20.12) in third, reveals the influence of his brother spurred him on to victory.
"I was quietly confident but knew Thompson was strong,” he said. “I thought it would be between the two of us and I did the best I could.
“I had great support and kept imagining how good it would be to have my name on the boards. It was nice to finally win something and not come second.
“There was a point, just past Cautley, when I felt rough and thought I had gone too fast. I thought Thompson had planned it all and paced it so I would get tired, but I just kept plodding along.
“I swing massively in mood during a race but after getting myself out of a bog I heard my brother play a song I’d asked him to.
“Near the end, I heard that Thompson was only 400m behind me so really pushed hard."
The ten-mile Wilson Run forms a major part of Sedbergh’s history and tradition and has been raced over the same route since its beginnings in 1881.
The current record is held by Charles Sykes – 1.08.04 set in 1993 – although race organiser Jim Fisher believes Campbell’s winning time ranks highly given the difficult conditions.
"Because we’ve had such wet winter, it was a very boggy course in parts, particularly at Baugh Fell,” he said.
“In these conditions, the winner made a very good time – he can be proud of it.
“I think he probably kept the quote he had taped to him in mind when he was completely stuck, thigh deep, in a bog.
“On a boggy day, the race is even harder because there are several very tricky descents. Thrush Ghyll is the first, as you go towards Cautley. It was exceptionally slidy on this occasion.
“140 qualified for this year's race, 135 started and 132 finished. It was a great race, enjoyed by hundreds – we had a really big turn out."
Ella Ferguson – whose motto was ‘We’re on our way and we’re flying home’ – won gold in the women’s category in a time of 1.41.27 ahead of Katie Dootson in 1.45.45 and Charlotte Ridsdale in 1.47.35.
Gold medallist Ferguson, who recently competed in the Cross Country Nationals in Leicestershire, admits taking inspiration from one former Sedberghian in particular.
"I have been building up my fitness and strength for many weeks now and have worked really hard," she said.
"Taking part in both the Nationals and the Wilson was very exciting but I also felt nervous because they are both such huge events to be part of.
"In the Wilson, I just went for it. My motto was 'We're on our way and we're flying home.'
"I was also inspired by the return of Old Sedberghian Caroline Fitzner, who was the last girl from my House to win the Wilson in 2008.
"She came up from Cambridge University to support us and it broke six years of our House not winning!"
This year was the first year that three girls boarding houses competed following the merger with Casterton School last year.
"We all really encouraged the Carus House girls in training but obviously on the
day it was a case of get your own personal best and try to win the House
competition," added Ferguson.
"We were all very supportive of each other though."