The Aranui Interschool Cross Country event has been cancelled for the first time in the event's 30-year history, due to the complications caused by Covid-19.
The event has been running since 1990, with more than 30 schools and 1000 kids ranging from Years 1 to 6 from around the region entering the competition each year.
Aranui School principal Maryann Roberts said the timetables didn't line up, as events that were scheduled for earlier in the year have had to be pushed back due to the disruptions caused by the country's move to Covid-19 alert level 2 in late August.
"We had to make the very difficult decision to cancel it for this year. We like to run a really good, thorough and exciting event and we thought this was the best decision to make for this year given all the circumstances and all the factors."
The event was originally scheduled for September 15 and was tentatively pushed back to November 3.
After surveying local schools that have participated over the years, Roberts said many couldn't commit to it due to event clashes and with the summer sports season under way.
"We were really looking forward to a fantastic event in September. We were all geared up to go but we had to factor in what was best for everyone given we didn't know what alert level we were going to be at.
"We thought the fairest outcome was we pull the pin early and make that known. There are a lot of school events and it allows them to be run and focused on."
Roberts said a lot of organising is required to make the event run smoothly and it was hard to make that happen given the short timeframe and the uncertainty of schools entering.
Although the organisers considered running the event with about half of the schools from last year's event, Roberts said they ultimately decided not to.
"We felt like it wouldn't be fair to all the other schools that usually participate."
Roberts said it was disappointing they couldn't hold the run to celebrate three decades of the event.
"We wanted it to be a very special event in particular. It's one of the events previous students always remember. We really wanted to make it extra special being the 30th.
"We just look forward to having a great event next year."