24 Feb

School Kids Vow To Defend Title

Winning team from Cuiken Primary

Pupils from Cuiken Primary School in Penicuik, Midlothian, were celebrating last week after it was revealed their team had scooped gold in the 2012 Edinburgh Marathon Festival junior school competition. The winning team were presented with a trophy by EMF mascot Mr Hairy Haggis and they promised to defend their title at this year's event.

More than 500 youngsters from across the country competed in the junior races at Edinburgh Marathon Festival in May last year. Pupils from 85 schools battled it out to win top spot in both a 3km race for 11 to 14 year-olds and a 1.5km race for six to 10 year olds. The winning team consisted of Oliver Snodgrass, 10, his brother Thomas, 12, and classmate Joshua Grahame, 12. Oliver finished fourth in the 1.5km race with an impressive time of five minutes, 44 seconds, Thomas came fourth in the 3km in 11 minutes and 40 seconds, with Joshua in 13th (12 minutes and 35 seconds).

Joshua spoke of the race day experience: "I feel nervous before every race but the minute the gun fires I forget the nerves and get on with the run. It's tough and sometimes I feel faint and sick at the end but then I feel amazing once I know how well I have done. It feels brilliant to win for the school. Hopefully when I am older I'd love to compete at a high level in sport and get a job in sport like coaching or working as a physiotherapist."

Oliver added: "It's great to be part of Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend. One day I hope to be able to run a full marathon and get onto the podium. I try and do some sort of sport every day of the week because I love it."

All three children are members of the Lasswade Running Club - where Olympian Freya Ross first trained. This year, organisers are expecting more than 100 schools from across Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife to take part.

Cuiken Primary head teacher, Joanna Taylor praised the trio: "I am incredibly proud of Thomas, Joshua and Oliver who along with the rest of the competitors from Cuiken ensured that we were the winning school at last year's Junior Race. In addition to the opportunities that sport in school provides for young people, it is also important to recognise the invaluable contribution of our local running clubs."

Edinburgh Marathon Festival director, Neil Kilgour, spoke about the wide appeal of the festival: "We are proud that the Edinburgh Marathon Festival is the most inclusive festival of running in the UK. These people are changing their lives and many are changing the lives of others too through raising vital funds for charity. It is a positive experience for all."

For more information on Edinburgh Marathon Festival visit the event website.