Slushy track tests primary school kids
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.
The boys nine and under race saw nearly 150 runners entered from all over the region.