Slushy track tests pri­mary school kids

South Taranaki Star - - PROPERTY - JANE MATTHEWS

In the 30 years that Richard Brewer has been in­volved in the Taranaki Pri­mary Schools’ Cross Coun­try, he’s never had a rainy day.

This year was no ex­cep­tion, how­ever, that doesn’t mean the farm-based track wasn’t mucky.

‘‘It’s what we call a true cross coun­try,’’ Brewer, the pres­i­dent of the Ha¯ wera Har­ri­ers, said.

It was very slushy.’’

The hot sunny day brought heat­stroke for many chil­dren, and the muddy grounds re­sulted a few sprained an­kles, but Brewer said all in all it was a good day out.

The Ha¯ wera Har­ri­ers play host for the event at the Eg­mont A & P Show­grounds ev­ery year and have done so for the past 30-odd years.

‘‘It used to ro­tate around the in­ter­me­di­ate schools, and we held it for the Ha¯wera In­ter­me­di­ate once when it was their turn,’’ Brewer said. ‘‘The schools came back to us and said, ‘would you mind do­ing it for a cou­ple of years?’ And we haven’t looked back.’’

The nine and un­ders, and 10-year-olds run a two kilo­me­tre course, and the 11, 12 and 13-yearolds face a 3km course that Brewer said has ‘‘a lit­tle bit of ev­ery­thing re­ally.

‘‘It’s not just a run around a sports field, it’s farm land with proper jumps and things,’’ he said. ‘‘We’ve had the stock that graze the ground make some quite muddy ar­eas, so the kids were hav­ing to con­tend with that too.’’

The track is well known around the coun­try, and run­ners en­joy it too.

‘‘With our har­rier se­nior events, every­one looks for­ward to the Ha¯ wera course,’’ Brewer said. ‘‘We held the New Zealand se­nior champs in 1999, so it’s a New Zealand ranked course.

‘‘And we’re host­ing the New Zealand Se­condary Schools’ Cross Coun­try here in 2020.’’

The in­di­vid­ual win­ners on the day were: Girls: Mar­ley Samp­son, 8, of Ngaere School, Macken­zie Caskey, 10, Toko School, Pas­coe Wells, 11, Toko School, Emma Shot­ter, 12, Sa­cred Heart Girls’ Col­lege, and Emma North, 13, High­lands In­ter­me­di­ate School. Boys: Hadley Thomp­son, 8, Fitzroy School, Brock Iron­side, 10, Cen­tral School, Dy­lan Kowalewski, 11, Mid­hirst School, Scott Man­ning, 12, Man­gorei School, and Josh Thorn­burn, 13, High­lands In­ter­me­di­ate School.

Teams from all over the re­gion won the team races too - Ha¯ wera In­ter­me­di­ate tak­ing out two boys’ races.

JANE MATTHEWS/ STUFF

The boys nine and un­der race saw nearly 150 run­ners en­tered from all over the re­gion.

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