The 10:25 a.m. ferry departing from Port McNeill was full of kids from all over the North Island who were ready to run in the Oct. 25 annual A.J. Elliott cross country meet in Sointula.
The sun was shining as students from Quatsino K’ak’ot’lats’i School, Sea View Elementary, Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw School, Alert Bay School, Eagle View Elementary, Fort Rupert Elementary, Sunset Elementary School, and T’lisalagi’lakw Band School, gathered at A.J. Elliott Elementary School to compete in their respective divisions.
The event saw almost 200 runners participate, including students from Port Hardy Secondary School, North Island Secondary School, and also adults and volunteers.
A.J. Elliott staff and students helped with the set-up, clean-up, results, and many different jobs throughout the day’s races. The meet also included a concession stand for students to buy snacks that were provided by volunteers.
“It’s a fun annual event, I think they might have just as much fun socializing as they do running,” laughed North Island Secondary School Principal Jay Dixon.
The Tyke division, which includes students from grades 2-4, ran 1.7 km, while the other divisions all ran a 2.7 km long course.
“I like exercise – it’s pretty cool,” said K’ak’ot’lats’i grade seven student Tye Morash, before he ran in the Mixed Bantam race.
Cross country road marshalls waving yellow pinnies were stationed along the route to help the runners find their way.
“It feels great, I put in a lot of training and hard work,” said Olivia James after she won first place in the Peewee Girls race. “I’m just really proud.”
The trip over to Sointula was the actual highlight for some students.
“I like that it’s really fun, that you get a chance to show what you like doing, and you get to go on field trips and explore different towns”, said Allison Maundrelle, a grade four student from Fort Rupert, who won first place in the Tyke Girls race.
“I like the ferry ride, I like when people cheer, and it’s just really fun running in it,” said grade four student Scarlett Tanaka, who placed second in the Tyke Girls race.
Participation ribbons were given to all runners and the last run of the day was completed in time for students to catch the afternoon ferry and head back to class.
See next week’s Gazette for results.