The IPSSA is the Ipswich Primary School Sports Association and formed from a group primary schools in the Ipswich area. The association organises sports competitions for the schools including football, basketball and the IPSSA cross country.
It was my first time taking part at the IPSSA cross country as in previous year it has only been open to years 5 and 6 however this year they also included a shorter race for year 4. IPSSA Cross Country event is held at the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook, schools are split in to morning and afternoon sessions. Schools from the east in the morning and schools from the west the afternoon, I was running for my school Capel St Mary CE school.
The race for years 5 and 6 is 2.2km and takes place around the edge of the sports field with most of the course being flat and on grass although there is a hill to go up and down towards the end. The year 4’s run a shortened course of 1.5km and still have to go up and down the hill.
Six races took place over the afternoon spilt in to year groups of boys and girls. Year 4’s were the first two races so I was in the third race year 5 boys. Each of the 20 schools taking part could enter 10 runners for each race so each field was up to 200 runners, pupils from each school lined up behind each other.
Sorting ourselves in to a line putting our fastest runners at the front, this was decided to be me followed by my friend Corin and then the others. Having quickly accessed the course there was a clear advantage to line up on the left as the course narrows on the right soon after the start.
Once we were told GO everyone set off at a fast pace towards the first corner only 200 metres ahead, unfortunately I wasn’t a quick off the line as I could have been and I got a little held up at the first corner. I started to make my way up thorough the field and I was soon in to the top 10, as we go to the hill on the course I didn’t feel as strong a I had hoped and I wasn’t able to keep pushing . When I reached the top of the hill I gave a good push and started my sprint towards the finish line giving it everything I had left.
Finishing in 13th place out of 150+ in my first race with a field this big was a good result and I know now what to expect next year.
Keys facts about the event
Held in March at the Royal Hospital in Holbrook (just outside Ipswich)
There is plenty of parking on site and marshals will direct you where to park
Toilets and changing facilities
Toilets on site are portaloos and there are no changing rooms or showers available.
There are no refreshments or water available so you need to take your own.
Pupils are split in to year groups and boy and girls race separatly. Each of the 20 schools can enter up to 10 pupils. There could be up to 200 pupils running a race although some schools can’t find 10 pupils to run.
The course is 99% on grass as there is a small gravel section at the start. It is mostly flat but there is a up and down hill section towards the end.
The IPSSA Cross Country event organisers welcome parents to spectate. You can see the runners around most of the course. though at time they are in the distance. However you do get a good view of the finish.
How to take part?
You will need your school to enter you for this race.
I enjoyed the IPSSA Cross Country but it seem most of the schools really don’t take the time to prepare the pupils for the day. Results are not published and IPSSA make very little of the IPSSA cross country event. With a few little improvement this could become a larger competition and a more even more enjoyable event.
You can find limited details of the Ipswich Primary School Sports Association.