George Mears beats the clock in the Great Court Run

It was spectacular weather for the Great Court Run, a Trinity tradition on Matriculation Day, and the outcome was pretty good too.

First year Maths student George Mears wasn’t only streets ahead of his peers, he also beat the Trinity Clock with a time of 48.12 seconds – without stepping on the cobbles. The first female student over the line, Keziah Heasman, also kept to the rules, finishing with a time of 65.69 seconds.

Both were congratulated by the Master, Dame Sally Davies.

Fastest female and male runners, Keziah Heasman and George Mears with Dame Sally

According to convention, runners must keep to the flagstones as they attempt to run the 341 metres around Great Court before the Clock strikes noon, which it does twice. Typically, competitors cut corners – literally – by stepping on the cobbles, which reduces the distance and saves times at the corners.

Dr Hugh Hunt explaining the rules

Professor Joan Lasenby, Trinity Fellow in Engineering and keen runner, said the marshals at each corner of Great Court confirmed that Keziah and George kept to the rules.

On your marks…

George, a keen runner whose preferred distance is 400 metres, said he hadn’t done any special training for event and was surprised to win.

‘I feel sort of lucky,’ he said, adding ‘the Clock was slow this year.’

Dr Hugh Hunt, Trinity Fellow in Engineering and Keeper of the Clock, said that weather did affect the timing of the bells; in 1970s it took 43 seconds for them to chime 24 times. (Since the eighteenth century Trinity’s Clock has chimed twice, first on a low note and then on a higher note.)

But there was no detracting from George’s achievement. Keziah, an all-rounder when it comes to sports, said she was surprised but pleased by her win. Runner up among male students was Santiago Marin Martinez, a first year studying Natural Sciences, who credits his all round fitness with regular athletics and six months’ military service in Switzerland.

The other winners of the day were fancy dress runners including the toga Engineering students Tom Vinestock, John Perry, Jonathan Heywood and Alex Watson, all in their fourth year.

First years Betty Rook, studying Classics, and Celeste Spratt, studying Architecture, cut a dash in their green and red balloons, matching wands and sparkling make-up. ‘We’re the grape fairies – we’re advocates of healthy eating,’ said Celeste.

Grape fairies, Betty Rook and Celeste Spratt

The food theme continued with second-year Maths student, Agnijo Banerjee, who navigated Great Court with a pear on a spoon, which survived three falls.

Pear-and-spoon race winner Agnijo Banerjee

Dame Sally awarded all these fancy dress runners – and a giant pink-striped Cheshire Cat – prizes in the College Café Bar, before heading off for photos with the winners in Great Court.

The toga Engineers with Dame Sally

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