The 2023 Wilson Run: Mud, Glory and History

Wilson Run 2023 Results

The Wilson Run was started by Schoolmaster Bernard Wilson in 1881. In the early days, the runner’s progress was relayed back to the start line by cyclists, cadet corps using semaphore and even, on one occasion, by heliograph on Spectators Hill. Even harder to imagine is that the first runners set forth in pressed, all-white cotton outfits and formal leather shoes!

Running at Sedbergh School, and the event, has come a long way since then. This year’s runners, wearing the colours of their Boarding House, were sporting the latest in specialist fell-running shoes (usually from local company inov-8). The runners also wore tracking tags for progress and safety – and of course, the whole event was live streamed to viewers around the world. The stature of the event is evident in the feedback the School received from Old Sedberghians from as far away as the United States and Canada. 

In the lead up to the Run, sixth form pupils described the event variously as a ‘rite of passage’ and talked about how much the Run’s ‘legacy’ means to them. 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.’

Even qualifying is a challenge – and an example of the spirit behind the run. A Year 12 pupil George described his qualifying round: ‘I had two of my best mates helping me around, pretty much pushing and pulling me up the hills. I qualified with 10 seconds to spare! It was all really tough but I’m glad I did it. I’m just going to go and enjoy the day and run with my friends.’

This 2023 Run took place in what some say were the worst conditions for twenty years. But from a record 205 qualifiers the School’s intrepid sixth form pupils, battled through it all and set a further record – 192 pupils finished. After recent weeks of rain and snow, the course was exceptionally muddy and the streams flooded, so hopes of another record-beating run had to be put aside. In the end, in two gutsy, glory-filled runs, Sam won the boys race in 1:18 and Beth led the girls home in 1:47.

Beaming with pride, Sam, the overall winner, described feeling ‘ecstatic’ crossing the finish of a race he’d been ‘looking forward to and training for for a few years’.

See the live feed on our YouTube channel.

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Sam crossing the finish line of the 2023 Wilson Run
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Beth crossing the finish line of the 2023 Wilson Run

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