FOR their final sporting challenge via Google Classroom for 2021, the PE staff invited the entire Devenish College school community to participate in a ‘Laps of the Lough’ House challenge for a period of three weeks.

Each entrant had to cover as many kilometres as possible in a single outing each week and then submit their total distance covered, evidenced by a screenshot of the route undertaken, and share it with their House leader, who then had to enter the scores on a weekly team spreadsheet.


Entrants could choose to walk, run or cycle the distance and students, teaching staff, office staff, classroom assistants, support staff and the Principal all got involved in the challenge, which proved to be a great motivation for everyone to ‘get active’ for their team during this final period of online schooling.

In the first week, things were fairly low-key, but once the initial totals were revealed for each House team at the end of week one, things really livened up!

Many – especially staff – decided that cycling was the way to boost their team’s chances, and so chains were oiled, brakes checked, routes planned and helmets and high-vis vests gathered for their owners to complete as many km as the legs could manage.

All entrants tried to surpass their own individual scores for week two, but more importantly, were aiming to add significant kms to their House team total.

Kiril Chursin decided to be creative and ‘up’ his contribution for Tully by skateboarding over 24km, and Maria Elliott, once again, was on horseback, with Mavis!

Mrs. Nixon decided to run a serious recruitment drive for Crom in week two, in the hope that additional participants would help to improve their team’s fourth position.

Abigail Kernoghan, Jack Pryce and Jack Elliott were instrumental in adding to the total for their team, but the star of the show for Crom was undoubtedly Chelsey Bell, who provided a video clip each week and got the family involved too – including the dog.

A great contribution

Mr. McNulty’s Caldwell saw Anna Gilmore, as always, make a great contribution to her team on foot, along with Mrs. I. Robinson, whilst Brooke Morrow added 58km, and Carrie McCourt 40km, for their team’s tally on their bikes.

Dylan McCleery really took the mantra of ‘doing it for the team’ to another level when he completed the Cuilcagh boardwalk twice in one day in a bid to improve Caldwell’s overall position.

Tully and Necarne had been ‘nip and tuck’ for the lead over weeks one and two and at the start of the final week, there was very little between these two teams.

Miss Glover and Mrs. Nevin led Necarne by example, as both got ‘on their bikes’ again in week three to boost the total kilometres for their team.

Andrew McIlwaine and Eve Hassard each made a great contribution, as did the ever-reliable Alanna Knox, Jasmine Thompson and Rhys Henderson.

Rachel Lucy was another student who got her whole family involved.

Necarne’s cause was boosted even further by great walks from Mrs. Irwin and Mrs. McClean, whilst the Principal, – and a new cycling enthusiast – Mr. Mowbray, completed another lengthy virtual cycle to add to the total kilometres as the challenge neared an end.

Not to be outdone, and proving that the competitive edge in sport never leaves you, leaders of Tully House, Mr. Lyons and Mrs. Love, upped their kilometres on the cycle trails for week three, hoping to guide their team to a strong finish, but it was Mrs. McGrath who submitted the furthest staff distance in a fantastic 41km cycle in the final week.

Lengthy walks from Ian Blair, Miss Hall and Mr. O’Callaghan also added to Tully’s total.

However, Lucy Pattinson was undoubtedly the strongest performer for Tully once again, clocking up a mighty 82.32km in total, with Sam McGowan and Head Girl, Sarah Elliott, also making significant contributions for their team in an effort to finish ahead of their rivals.

The final distances achieved by each House team were:

• Caldwell – 626 km

• Crom – 746 km

• Necarne – 952 km

• Tully – 904 km

Over the course of the three weeks, Devenish College students and staff covered an impressive 3,228km, which represents 65 laps of Lough Erne.

Necarne’s winning total of 952km represents approximately 19 laps of the Lough – a fantastic achievement.

Greatest performance

However, perhaps the greatest performance during this challenge was that of Jacob McHugh, not for the distance covered, but for the true grit and determination he showed to participate for his team in this challenge after recent surgery.

Indeed, it was the massive effort from so many students and their families during this challenge that so impressed the Devenish PE staff.

The students’s efforts aptly displayed the school motto of “Strive, Support, Succeed”, showing that this event provided much more than a physical challenge with a competitive edge.

As Colin Lyons, Head of PE remarked: “Some have undertaken quite daunting challenges in all types of weather, whilst others enjoyed a walk, run or cycle through the beautiful forest parks in Fermanagh, but all participants made valuable contributions to the team.

“This challenge succeeded in encouraging our entire school community to be more active outdoors, [which was] greatly beneficial to their physical and mental health during these difficult times.”

He added that students could look forward to receiving a certificate of participation on their return to school after the Easter break, with medals being awarded to the top achievers in each House.