The race was on when hundreds of kids eagerly started one of the "toughest" off-road running events across New Zealand.
The Rotorua Junior Tough Guy and Gal Challenge attracted hundreds of local kids and spectators. True to its name, it provided plenty of challenges for the gutsy little competitors.
"For us it's all about the smiles on the kids' faces," said marketing manager Aimee Wright. "When they start out they're nervous and they're shaking and they don't want to touch the mud. But as soon as they get that little bit of mud on them, they're away and they're having so much fun."
The Rotorua event normally runs in August but was postponed due to Covid restrictions. But the delay didn't weaken the enthusiasm of the primary and intermediate school children from across the Bay of Plenty.
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"We had over 1700 kids, which was just fantastic," Wright said. "Normally Rotorua's event we do over two days. With the postponement, we had to put it all into one day, so it was a little more chaotic but the atmosphere was incredible and the kids had so much fun, and that's what it's all about for us."
Three Omokoroa Point School students ran the course in pink tutus and said the course was even better this year, mainly because it was muddier. And at the end of the day it's all about participation, with plenty of prizes handed out.
"All the kids get a finisher's medal," Wright said. "And they absolutely love that and that's what it's about for them."
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