It’s muddy, it’s challenging, and it’s a whole lot of fun. The Tauranga Junior Tough Guy and Gal Challenge was held yesterday at Baypark, with over 750 primary and intermediate school students taking part.
The event sees children take on an extreme cross-country where they are mentally and physically challenged with a muddy obstacle course consisting of swamp crossings, a spider’s web net climb, crawl under obstacles, beautiful native bush trails, tunnels, hurdles, a climbing frame, and water crossings.
Luke Kernohan, Oscar Habacht, and Phoenix McHannigan were three of those children. The nine-year-olds from Oropi School were beaming with pride as they crossed the finish line together.
When asked how the experience was, they all chimed in excitedly.
“It was pretty exhausting but really fun, I just wanted to slide in all the puddles, and that’s why I’m covered in mud now,” said Phoenix.
“Going under the ropes was the hardest thing, and one of the most fun things was going down the hill,” said Luke.
“It was so much fun, and we didn’t give up; we made sure we kept going together,” said Oscar.
Teachers from 25 schools across the Western Bay of Plenty brought classes of students to compete in the event, which is run by Get Kids Active Charitable Trust and Event Promotions.
Mark Sinclair, Get Kids Active Charitable Trust Chairperson, says the event offers children an opportunity to challenge themselves with the camaraderie of their friends.
“Many have never been that wet, cold, and muddy before and then still have to complete the cross country running course while having to climb or clamber over obstacles or crawl through mud.
“We collaborate with a large number of local primary and intermediate schools who incorporate this event into their event calendar for the school year and do some of the fitness training for the event in PE time.
“The schools like their students to attend as there is a real sense of achievement and pride when they do complete the event, students motivate each other to keep going, and there is lots of fun when many of them dress in fancy dress costumes.”
Aimee Wright is the Marketing Manager for Event Promotions. She set up the event and made sure everything went smoothly on the day. She says children get many benefits out of the event.
“We are getting primary and intermediate school kids more active and fitter, building team spirit, fostering learning outside of the classroom and a sense of achievement along with growing more confidence within the children. They learn that it’s about giving new things a go and taking part. They are awarded an awesome finishers medal after they complete the event as well, which they all wear with so much pride.
“It was great to see so many spectators including parents, grandparents, and teachers attending to cheer on their loved ones, and watching how much children’s confidence and self-achievement grew throughout the day – the smiles at the finish line said it all!”
TECT approved funding of $5,000 towards the event, which went towards the venue hire cost, sound system on the day, and printing of race numbers for the children.
Mark says the funding was important to keep the cost as low as possible for children to participate.
“TECT’s funding allowed us to keep the cost as low as possible so that more children were able to participate in the event, whilst still keeping it to a very professional level. The professional sound system and team ensured that all communication to the competitors was delivered properly and they knew all event and safety information for the day.
“Having a venue that can facilitate the high numbers we had and having areas for mass parking, registration, a course and a start and finish line was very important. Race numbers were also important as if a competitor was to get injured or hurt we were able to quickly identify them by their bib number for first aid.”.