When Lower Hutt's Toby Ireland returns home from Tauranga's 2019 AIMS Games he wants to plant some trees.

The 11-year-old blind runner is very conscious of his carbon footprint and whenever he travels, he likes to plant trees to offset carbon emissions. This week the Hutt Intermediate School pupil is in Tauranga taking part in the AIMS Games Tournament and finished third in the Years 7 and 8 Boys' Para athlete 800m race at the cross-country today.

All para races are run as multi-class events with all classifications running together.

Placings are based on percentage of para athlete's time in comparison to the 800m World Record in their classification. The para athlete with the time closest to their world record equivalent gets the higher placings.


Toby, who was led along the way by his father Saul, has been training for his event four times a week and said he felt "pretty good" at the end of the race. He had a favourite part of the 800m though, saying "getting ahead of dad" was a highlight.

Toby Ireland from Hutt Intermediate School crosses the finish with his dad Saul Ireland. Photo / George Novak
Toby Ireland from Hutt Intermediate School crosses the finish with his dad Saul Ireland. Photo / George Novak

But the AIMS Games is more than a chance to compete in sports and meet new people for Toby, it's also a chance for a bit of a family reunion for the Year 7 pupils.

His grandma, pop, aunt, uncle and cousin also live in Tauranga so getting to spend time with them adds to his own AIMS Games experience.

And while Toby loves travelling, he says it's better when he can plant trees as well. Since he wasn't able to do that before he left, it's likely to be something he and his parents do when they return home.

Para athlete 800m results:

Year 7 and 8 Girls:

1st: Charlie Gardiner-Hall (Waiuku Primary School), 3min, 34.31sec; 2nd: Jodeci Manuel (Tauranga Intermediate School), 5min, 27.62sec; 3rd: Emelia Cooksley (Tauranga Intermediate School), 5min, 52.11sec.

Year 7 and 8 Boys:
1st: Josh Rae (Casebook Intermediate), 3min, 20.01sec; 2nd: Troy Wilson (Tauranga Intermediate School), 3min, 28.74sec; 3rd: Toby Ireland (Hutt Intermediate School), 3min, 44.53sec; 4th: Kaleb Hohneck (Tauranga Intermediate School), 5min, 25.94sec; 5th: Fergus Aitken (Tauranga Intermediate School), 6min, 28.94sec.