A SCHOOL running race which dates back to 1881 took place in "exceptionally muddy" conditions. 

The original Wilson Run at Sedbergh School was started by schoolmaster Bernard Wilson. 

In the early days the runner's progress was relayed back to the start by cyclists, cadet corps using semaphores and even, on one occasion, by heliograph on Spectators Hill. 

The first runners were in all-white cotton outfits and formal leather shoes, hard to imagine in the muddy conditions of this year's event. 

The current runners wear the colours of their boarding house and wear specialist fell-running shoes. They also wear tracking tags for their progress and the event was live-streamed to viewers around the world. 

The Westmorland Gazette: Sedbergh School students run over a fell as part of the runSedbergh School students run over a fell as part of the run (Image: Sedbergh School)

The event is an important part of the Sedbergh School calendar. Sixth-formers describe the event as a 'rite of passage.' 

READ MORE: Sedbergh School pupil Fraser Sproul smashes Wilson Run record

Last year's winner Jemima Berry said: "I just want to be able to do that again. Last year being able to win it was absolutely amazing.

"The feeling of running down the finishing straight with everyone around you was just the best thing. That’s why I want to do it again this year."

The 2023 event was done in some of the poorest conditions for twenty years.

However, from a record 205 qualifiers the school’s intrepid sixth-form pupils battled through it all and set a further record as 192 pupils finished. 

The weather meant that a record-beating run was not on the cards.

Nonetheless Sam Gunning won the boy's race in 1 hour 18 minutes and Beth Cosgrove won the girl's race in 1 hour 47 minutes. 

Sam said that he felt "ecstatic" crossing the finishing line as he had been training and preparing for the event for years.