Hay River’s young cross-country athletes met up in Fort Providence on Friday to compete with schools from across the territory.
Over 300 participants were involved in this year’s race, and sunny skies and warmer tempuratures provided ideal running conditions.
Delays were faced after several school buses arrived late, but once everyone was organized the races went by quickly.
Athletes ran anywhere between one and eight kilometres, depending on their age category, and many agreed that the course was tough, no matter the distance.
“It was a bit hard, but it was fun,” said Robin Pook, bantam runner from Ecole William McDonald in Yellowknife.
“It went uphill and then it went down,” said fellow runner and classmate Emily Paddock. “It was also pretty slippery.”
The two girls said that this was their first time racing, and that they were both proud of finishing – even without injury.
Several runners came out of the trail, before the final hill, complaining of pulled muscles, sprained ankles and other minor injuries sustained during the circuit.
Others were confused about the circuit and were sent in the wrong direction before making their way to the finish line.
But amidst all the confusion and injury, the event was considered a success.
“Students who participated in the meet came into the finish area muddy, tired and happy,” said Becky Miller, a high school teacher at Deh Gah.
“With a few close finishes, the spirit of competition was alive on a beautiful fall day.”
Ann Salter-Jarrett was a volunteer on the course, and was surprised by not only the spirit of the runners, but also their athletic abilities.
“As a rabbit on the course I noticed that the participants were all in good spirits and were enjoying the race,” she said.
“They must have had great coaches because they were pacing themselves well and did not give up.”
Princess Alexandra swept the other schools away by finishing in first place overall with a grand total of 83 points at the end of the meet.
Diamond Jenness as a school placed sixth overall, with Harry Camsell in ninth and Ecole Boreale in 11th.