Coast 2 Coast

WGS is proud that over £100,000 has been raised for various charities over the last quarter of a century. That translates as an impressive 248 pairs of legs crossing a total of 4,280 miles.

Coast 2 Coast

This year’s Coast 2 Coast was extra special as it marked 25 years since the very first relay was run by WGS students back in 1999. The Coast 2 Coast Challenge (C2C) was introduced into the School’s sporting culture by Michelle Craig, a New Zealander who came to teach English and PE at WGS from September 1998 until 2001.

At her school in New Zealand they used to run an annual 24-hour sponsored relay run around a large lake. After a visit to St. Bees Head and cycling across to Robin Hood's Bay by road, Michelle suggested this as a possible route for24-hour C2C relay using eight runners. Bernard Trafford, the Head at the time, agreed, and the first attempt was made by eight Year 11 students in the Autumn term of 1999. Our very own JJ (Mr John Johnson) was on that first trip as an elected driver. He has since accompanied every team on this annual challenge and it was a privilege to present him with a commemorative gift at our anniversary celebrations on 8th July when members of the Coast 2 Coast teams over the 25 years were invited back to WGS.

Since 1999, the C2C event has grown in stature thanks to so many staff stepping forward to help with training and along the course. The route followed has evolved over time and there is less room for straying from the course thanks to the wonders of technology, a far cry from the headtorches and night map-reading of the early days. 

WGS is proud that over £100,000 has been raised for various charities over the last quarter of a century. That translates as an impressive 248 pairs of legs crossing a total of 4,280 miles. Thank you to our sponsors who for their generous support and to all our WGS staff, families and friends that have taken part.

Congratulations to our 2023 Coast 2 Coast team who completed the 25th annual 170-mile relay challenge from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in an incredible 24 hours and 46 minutes. 

Year 10 students Charlotte, Zena, Ashwin, Charlie, India, Reuben, Chris, Dylan, Tia and Matthew all undertook an intense 16-week training programme to prepare themselves for the event, which saw them face some of the steepest inclines in the country including the infamous Hard Knott Pass. 

A special thank you to our extraordinary staff team: Mr French, Mrs Harris, Mrs Dyer, Mr Johnson, Dr Bradley, Mrs Powell, Mr Jones, Mr Martin, and Mr Anderson, and to the family members who supported the team from day one of training right to the finish line. 

Thank you also to our wonderful sponsors: RMW Electrical Services Ltd, The Shingler Group, The Blakemore Foundation, Holroyd Howe, Premier Sports and the WGS Friends. 

Read on for a report by this year’s team:

Coast 2 Coast 2023, it’s been 25 years of success, excitement and a little bit of pain. However, this didn’t stop us from having an amazing time and a wonderful experience. We set off on the morning of Friday 25th May, suddenly realising how little space we had to work with in the minibus. After ten minutes we were already bored of the minibus, and after twenty minutes we were asking how long until we got there! 

Once we arrived at St Bees School, we didn’t stop playing with the equipment until we had to leave for dinner. We arrived at the fish and chip shop, where the waitress realised that serving ten kids and the staff was going to be a little tricky, especially with the water crisis they had on their hands. We walked around St Bees before playing catch on the beach and the boys threw stones out to sea to see how far they would go. We headed back to the sports hall and played basketball for another hour before getting a few hours rest ahead of the challenge. This was a challenge in itself, thanks to a certain someone’s snoring!

Waking up at 5.00am, we ate breakfast half-awake before heading off to the start-line. The clock turned 7.00am and we were off, with India leading the way. It wasn’t long before Reuben fell asleep for the first time of many, and half the Jaffa Cakes had already been eaten after the first three people had run. After a couple of hours, Zena, Charlie, Charlotte and Reuben went up Hardknott, giving the rest of us a bit of extra leg room. After a few hours had past, Charlotte had ran up Wrynose, Dylan had climbed up Nateby, and all we could think about was when the food was going to arrive. Mr Martin told us we only had 12 hours to go, which couldn’t have been any less inspiring, and every hour the blue musical van driven by Mr Baker and Ms Guidotti would drive past with its maracas.

As we headed into the evening and overnight, the temperature cooled down, making the running a bit less sweaty. Everyone was dozing off, Mr Jones enjoyed a bit of karaoke overnight, and personal items were left all over the place. As we entered the final few hours and everyone was doing their last stint, the staff decided to take a photo of each of us, just when we couldn’t have looked any worse! We ran down the final hill together and crossed the finish line, before having to walk back up and down the hill just to get some breakfast. 

Later that evening, we all enjoyed a nice meal at the hotel, with Mr French commenting about us one by one. Overall it was an amazing experience that all of us will never forget and we would recommend C2C to anyone in the future.

Proud to be one of the oldest schools in the country but forward-looking in our approach.