Film ID:
YFA 4893



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This film, made by Debenham & Co., documents a military race at the Beverley Racecourse on Saturday, 29th April, 1916.  The cross-country race was organized by the Northern Command Cross-Country Association and included 435 starters.  Upwards of 250 men finished the 6.5 mile race including winner Lance Corporal Chapell. 

Title – An Ideal Method of keeping our Men fit.  Cine Film By Debenham & Co., York
Title – Promoted by the Officers in Command
Title – and enthusiastically and keenly contested.
Title – Some of the competing Teams.

Men who make up the competing teams are gathered together, posing for the camera.  Most of them are standing, but there are a few seated in front of the crowd.  All the contestants wear numbers pinned to their chests, and they are all dressed in t-shirts and shorts. 

Next, three officers are standing together.  There are other officers on horseback in the background.  Two women are present, one of which holds a dog on a leash.  Following this is more footage of some of the men waiting to compete, some of whom lay on the grass in front of the crowd. 

All the runners are lined up for the start of the race, and the line is many men deep.  There is a man who wears a flat cap and stands at the side-line where he speaks to one of the runners.  From a slightly elevated shot, the men can be seen waiting to race.

Title – The Start.

The officers clear the field, and after a few hesitant false starts from the men at the far side of the line, the race officially begins. 

Title – 1st Lap.  Lc. Cpl. Chapell leading.

There is a shot along the long edge of the track.  A row of hedges can be seen in the background as the leader of the race is first to pass the camera.  The race is led by a few individual runners, and larger groups of runners follow as the race continues. 

Spectators stand behind a rope at the finish line.  There are officers and other troops as well as civilians including women and children watching the race take place.  Other spectators are shown standing behind a mental fence and wooden barriers.  One of the women spectators holds a box with Cottage Hospital written on the side.  There is a panning shot of the spectators, and all of the men and women are wearing hats. 

At the end of the race, Lance Corporal Chapell, wearing number 1, is the first to cross.  There is a policeman waiting at the finish line who is able to run out of the way just in time.  Three other men can be identified crossing the finish line next, and they were the following numbers in their chests:  4, 124, and 8.  Larger groups of runners cross the finish line before the film ends abruptly.