FeverPitch Reporter

A trip to train and compete with athletes in high-altitude Iten and Nairobi may have spurred a 16-year-old Briton to win one of the world’s oldest and UK’s prestigious cross country races, The Tucks and the Hector Rose Bowl.

Peter Middleton, Housemaster and coach at Shrewsbury School, where Charlie Tait-Harris is a student, said the presence of Kenya’s five-time world cross country champion and 1988 Olympic gold medallist, John Ngugi, at the race last week also added excitement to the event.

“It was a real honour to have such a legend of the sport as John Ngugi present the prizes given his own credentials as one of the greatest cross-country runners of all time.

“To win The Tucks and the Hector Rose Bowl is one of the ultimate honours at Shrewsbury School, and Sunday’s victory by Charlie Tait-Harris was particularly notable given that he is only 16 years old, therefore beating much older runners in our sixth form,” said Mr Middleton in an email to FeverPitch.

“Charlie is a local boy and is not only a very talented footballer, but a runner of considerable promise. Last year at the national Knole Run in Kent (a gruelling 9.5km race) saw Charlie place in the top 20 despite only being a 15-year-old competing against a field of 350 runners who were mainly 17 or 18 years old.

“He also gained a place in the school’s 1st VIII squad as a 15-year-old, a rare honour for somebody so young. Last year, Charlie was selected for our tour party that travelled to East Africa to train up in Iten and in the Ethiopian highland town of Bekoji,” said the coach.

 “To be honest, it hasn’t quite sunk in yet that I have won the famous Tucks race. To win the Tucks was an amazing experience in itself, but to have Olympic champion John Ngugi present me with the trophy was an unforgettable experience, and brought back some very special memories of running in Kenya,” Tait-Harris wrote in an email sent to FeverPitch.

“It has been an inspiring week and we have been very fortunate to have such a gifted athlete as Mr Ngugi come to Shrewsbury School,” he said.

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