Hundreds of children and adults took to the cold, mud and water for the Tough Kid Challenge and Tough Guy and Gal Challenge at Linton Army Camp over the weekend.
Mud may be a great leveller but mucking about in it can be heaps of fun.
Linton Army Camp became swamp city central on Friday and Saturday as hundreds turned out for the annual Tough Guy and Gal Challenges.
A fundraiser to support the KidsCan medical research charity, the Tough Challenges are a series of ‘‘extreme off-road’’ running events held throughout the North Island.
About 1500 children aged between 7 and 12 years, tackled Friday’s junior run.
The kids, many of them in fancy dress, ran either a 1.5-kilometre or a 3km course complete with mud pits, icy cold ponds and incorporating part of the army obstacle course.
Awahou School decked its team of runners out with fairy wings and petal tutus.
‘‘All the boys dressed up as fairies, and wore wings too – it helps that the principal’s dressed up,’’ said parent helper Lordly Kaiuha, who had added a set of pink wings to his black shorts and T-shirt.
‘‘They just love the whole concept of being out and about, being active, and giving it a go. The mud’s a bonus for them.’’
Saturday it was the adults’ turn over 6km and 12km courses. For those over 13-years, about 700 took part.
Event manager Amy Gregory said about 60 per cent of participants were women, and again many came in costume.
People dressed up as dalmatians, brides, and pigs stuck in mud, Gregory said.
‘‘It’s about getting out there and having fun. You’re putting yourself in an environment that you’ve never been in before.’’
It catered to people of all shapes, sizes and ages, with the added advantage of allowing people to experience an area that usually had restricted access, she said.
The mud and shoulder-high freezing water was no match for 77-year-old Colleen Sloane who aced the course with its 30-metre-long tunnels, and poles so high she had to be lifted up by soldiers.
The fitness fanatic, who goes to the gym every morning at dawn, said age was no barrier and that the Linton course was one of the easier ones.
‘‘I quite enjoy the mud and water. You just put your head down and bum up and crawl through.’’
Sloane set herself the challenge of completing six events in 2017, with a final challenge in Rotorua next week.
Jessica Clapham crawls through the Tough Challenge obstacle course.