The Extra Mile

Last Saturday, in the torrential rain, members of the Wellington Running Club ran five miles in a four-mile race. They quite literally went the extra mile.  To find out why they ran an extra mile when they had already battled through mud, over sand, under camo nets, and across channels of freezing water, you will have to read all the way to the end.

Going the extra mile is something that typifies the Wellington spirit. As we reach the end of another busy Michaelmas Term, I have been struck again by the incredible commitment and dedication I see from students and staff – day in, day out. Monday’s assembly alone provided numerous examples of this characteristic Wellingtonian trait.  We celebrated, for example, the success of our senior debaters who, at 7.00pm the previous evening had reached the finals of one of the country’s largest and most demanding British Parliamentary debating competitions.  After hours of battling through the muddy waters of Brexit, arguing over the decline of the USA as a global superpower, and working under extreme time pressure (with only 15 minutes to respond to each motion) Sparsh Jain and Ramarni Wilfred emerged as runners-up out of 104 schools – a superb achievement. Sparsh and Ramarni train, on average, eight hours a week and usually complete another four hours of preparation work. During competition season, they can put in more than 25 hours a week. Their determination, combined with the dedication of Dr Gardner and her team of coaches, is something to be admired.

The last two weeks have provided countless examples of staff and students going above and beyond in the pursuit of excellence. During Monday’s assembly, we congratulated the cast of ‘Blue Stockings’ for telling their story so brilliantly and for setting the bar so high for future performances in the new G.W. Annenberg Performing Arts Centre. This week, we have seen over 100 dancers from Wellington and Eagle House take part in a spectacular Dance Show. ‘The Road to Oz’ was a triumph: a colourful display of dancing and tumbling that exceeded all expectations.  Meanwhile the Chapel Choir, after hours of practice, performed superbly at our Advent Procession and will do so again, no doubt, at two Carol Services tomorrow.  And amidst all this, the 1st XV rugby team were victorious in the Champions Trophy final, after a brilliant and gruelling game against Epsom College. This report from England Rugby will tell you how the game played-out and will explain why we are so proud of our rugby players this week.

And these are the visible examples. Behind the scenes, students have been busy preparing for Oxbridge interviews; the Admissions Department has been busy reading references and processing applications for prospective students; teachers and HMs have been writing reports; the Domestics and Catering teams have been busy preparing festive drinks, lunches and dinners; the gardeners have erected Christmas trees all around the College; and members of the Chapel flower team have decorated the Chapel (and entertained the children of staff members with bauble-making and mince pies).

Life at Wellington is one huge team effort. The fact that so many members of the team are prepared to give so generously of their time is what gives the College such energy. It is why, collectively, we achieve so much.

The members of the Running Club who competed in ‘The Grim’ last Saturday did so in true Wellington style. You can read the full story in the news items below. There were some exceptional individual performances but, the fact that our boys won the men’s team event, the fact that our girls won the women’s event, the fact that our team comprised both staff and students, and the fact that many ran further than they needed to, tells you all you need to know about the Wellington spirit.

But why did some members of the team run that extra mile?

On this occasion, it all came down to one thing:

Poor sign-posting.

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