You don't often see two athletes jostling for the lead in a competitive race cheering each other on from start to finish.
That level of sportsmanship was on display when Year 7 girls Renee Carey, (Tauranga Intermediate) and Lucy McLean, 12, (Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School) took to the front of the field in their AIMS Games' multisport race throughout the event.
Renee, 11, scored her second gold medal of the competition in the 2.4km run, 3.8km bike and 1km kayak race at McLaren Falls Park on Wednesday morning finishing in a time of 31m 21s and 12-year-old Lucy, who was not too far behind her, scored silver in the same race with a time of 32:03. They cheered each other on during the multisport event and gave each other a big congratulatory hug at the end.
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Even though they attend schools nearly 400km apart, Renee and Tauranga-born Lucy have been friends since birth.
"We're really good family friends, it was really cool because I know her and we were kind of talking while we were going through," a still energetic and smiling Renee said after her race.
Their dads Regan Carey and Andrew McLean work for the same company Craigs Investment Partners, though in separate cities, and their mums Jodi Carey and Denise McLean, modestly refer to themselves as "ex-runners" have completed a few running events together. They're all very proud of both girls.
"Both families are passionate about sport," mum Jodi says.
The McLeans left Tauranga about 10 years ago but much of those beginning years of Lucy and Renee's lives were spent together and the families remain in contact today.
"It all started here," Denise says.
Renee and Lucy have a bond that seems to have filtered through to their sporting interests, with both girls saying their favourite part of the event was the first leg, which was the run and their worst being the uphill on the bike.
"I wouldn't like it if it started any other way," Renee said laughing. Lucy agreed.
Overall though, the could only describe multisport as "fun".
Both girls also unwittingly entered the same three codes of cross country, multisport and hockey. Though Renee is playing the 11-a-side format and Lucy is playing six-a-side.
Their first event they competed in the AIMS Games together was the Year 7 girls cross country race when Renee scored her first gold and Lucy earned bronze. Renee also scored a bronze in the cross-country relay on the same day.
Tauranga Intermediate principal and Anchor AIMS Games chairman Brian Diver was impressed by not only Carey but fellow Year 7 Tauranga Intermediate student Michael Van Lieshout who won silver in his race.
"He's a bit like Renee, exemplified by guts and determination and a never give up attitude ... that's how they stand out," Diver says.
Year 7 Boys:
1st: Coen Anderson, Remuera, 30:10
2nd: Michael Van Lieshout, Tauranga, 30:47
3rd: Zane Wyllie, Auckland Normal, 31:07
Year 7 Girls:
1st: Renee Carey, Tauranga, 31:29
2nd: Lucy McLean, Pnins, 32:03
3rd: Emmerson Garrett, Howick 32:19
Year 8 Boys:
1st: Mathew Ney, Ilminster, 27:28
2nd: Joe Millington, Belmont, 29:39
3rd: Oscar Rust, Highlands, 29:58
Year 8 Girls:
1st: Milla Phipps, Mokoia, 30:47
2nd: Seana Gray, Waikato Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner), 30:53
3rd: Lulu Johnson, Otumoetai, 31:06