It was another record turnout and the interschool rivalries are beginning to become well set when the eighth annual Mitre 10 Mega Tough Kid Challenge was held at Cooks Gardens today.
A modified obstacle course from previous years had spread out the distance between the obstacles around the track, inner field and hillside of Cooks Gardens, allowing children more room to race to each feature, which still provided plenty of thrills and spills.
The children, competing in three age grades, still had to clear the rope netting, wooden fences, tyre runs and water hoses before heading up the hill and clambering over barriers along the way.
There were plenty of relieved and tired faces when they slid down the tarpaulin slide, out of a truck, with dish washing detergent to send them on their way to the finishline.
Waitotara School's Toby Corcoran joined elite company like Jessica Johnstone, Flynn Johnston and Alex Lennox in becoming a multiple-time individual winner.
Corcoran had won the Year 5-6 Boys title while at Kai Iwi School last year, and has now added the Year 7-8 trophy to his collection.
"It was definitely harder this year, a lot harder competition," he said.
"This was a lot more tiring, because we didn't know who came over the line first. A photo finish."
Corcoran's schoolmates had been asking him if he thought he could win back-to-back, so it was a relief to deliver on the expectations.
"There definitely was [pressure]."
The Year 7-8 Girls race was won by Whanganui Intermediate's Eliza Maxey ahead of schoolmate Teresa Rennie, one of the talented twin runners as Carrie Rennie won the Year 5-6 title last year, also ahead of Teresa.
The sisters still got a gold medal as they formed half of the Whanganui Intermediate foursome that won the Year 7-8 team race.
With rivals Westmere and St John's Hill having split the winner and runnerup positions of the Year 3-4 and Year 5-6 team races, it came down to adding up all the results to see who would win the Toughest School trophy in the Junior division.
Westmere had broken St John's Hill's five-time winning streak in 2017 by claiming the trophy, but it was making its way back to the glass case at the offices on Parkes Ave this year.
"It was really well run, the waves [obstacles] were really spread out and gave the kids a chance," said St John's Hill sports co-ordinator Glen Howells.
"There was no bottlenecks.
"Really proud of the kids, gave it everything as always, and it's a rush to get the trophy back again."
Whanganui Intermediate retained their Toughest School Senior trophy for the fifth year in a row.
There were 37 schools represented this year, one more than 2017, with around 2300 competitors, around 200 more than last year.
Year 3-4 Girls: 1. Sienna Gilmore (St John's Hill); 2. Amelia Allardice (St John's Hill); 3. Jasmine Kaa Miller (Westmere).
Year 5-6 Boys: 1. Zak Papworth (St John's Hill); 2. Kaleb Compton (Westmere); 3. Justin Falconer (Tawhero).
Year 5-6 Girls: 1. Hannah Byam (St George's); 2. Emily Corcoran (Westmere); 3. Aroha Runga Karaitiana (Tawhero).
Year 7-8 Boys: 1. Toby Corcoran (Waitotara); 2. Oliver Jones (St George's); 3. Noah Ahern Grant (Whanganui Intermediate).
Year 7-8 Girls: 1. Eliza Maxey (Whanganui Intermediate); 2. Teresa Rennie (Whanganui Intermediate); 3. Bonneville Tipene (Whangaehu).
Year 3-4: 1. St John's Hill (Ashton Baxter, Ethan Toy, Phoebe Rickard, Sienna Gilmore); 2. Westmere (Xavier Booth, Thomas McMurray, Jasmin Kaa-Miller, Sienna Murray); 3. St Georges (Carter Richardson, Angus Wilson, Shelby Lee, Annabel Bielby).
Year 5-6: 1. Westmere (Kaleb Tonkin, Kane Wilson, Ruby McIntyre, Emily Corcoran); 2. St John's Hill (Zak Papworth, Harry Burroughs, Kate Macpherson, Trista Ormsby); 3. Mosston (Alex Palazzo, Keiena Spink, Isla Ericsson, Sarah Cooper).
Year 7-8: 1. Whanganui Intermediate (Cyprezzt Atkins, Chase Morpeth, Carrie Rennie, Teresa Rennie); 2. St Annes (Oliver Hutchins, Kieran Hogan, Stacey Edmonds, Abbey Peters); 3. Westmere (Connor Rees, Thomas Gowan, Lana O'Connor, Estelle Murray).
Junior: 1. St John's Hill; 2. Westmere; 3. Durie Hill.
Senior: 1. Whanganui Intermediate; 2. St George's; 3. Westmere.