IT'S THE granddaddy of all of Sport Whanganui's obstacle course events and a record number of 1600 pupils are expected to take part in the 5th annual Mitre 10 Mega Tough Kid event at Cooks Gardens on Friday.

Entries have closed with more than 30 schools in the Wanganui region sending children to clamber over, under, and through the 1.5km long course which goes up the Cooks Gardens embankment and back down to the centre field.

Starting as a town event, Sport Whanganui has taken the Tough Kid races to the Rangitikei, and for the first time this year the Waimarino, with a combined 1000 children racing.

But the Wanganui original has continued to grow, with events manager Rachel O'Connor believing the enthusiasm is for a day where kids of all abilities can take part.

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"An important focus of Tough Kid events is growing kids' confidence through encouraging them to get involved and get active - and to push themselves to achieve their personal best while also having a whole heap of fun.

"We're delighted that kids, schools and the community have once again come together to help make the event a success and, in particular, to make this year's event the biggest yet.

"The event will see kids crawling, sliding, squeezing and jumping their way around the 'tough' course. Obstacles we have planned include old favourites, such as the infamous Mitre 10 MEGA slide, and there'll also be some new surprises along the way too."

The Dub.Dee.See. Youth Committee will be on hand to give out free hot dog pops to entrants. A contingent of service groups, such as the police, army cadets and the fire service, will be there to support, as well as volunteers and marshals from the community.

Those who finish the various age group races in 1-3 will receive a medal, and the 'Sport Whanganui Toughest School Trophy' will be awarded to the overall best performing school. The prizegiving ceremony will be held at around 2pm.

There will be designated spectator areas with on-site food and refreshments, cash only. The finishing times will be available online at http://www.thetimingteam.co.nz/results/index.php?thread=1718948622.

Action starts at 10am.