Splish, splash

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.

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