Never underestimate the value of experience when it comes to obstacle racing.
A number of the runnerup placings were converted into victories at the 2019 Mitre 10 Mega Tough Kid Challenge at Cooks Gardens today.
It was another strong turnout of 2300 school children from over 35 schools to tackle the course which took them through water, under netting, over fences and down tarpaulin waterslides.
A change for this year's course saw the runners, who were sent off in groups of a couple of dozen within each age group, attacking the hillside section at Cooks Gardens first when they were still fresh, rather than in the latter half of their race.
Each group was sent off at around two minute intervals, with each competitor's times being recorded electronically to find the true Top 3 finishers based on fastest journey from starting to finishline.
In the oldest Year 7-8 boys race, St George's Oliver Jones ended the reign of Waitotara's Toby Corcoran as he was judged to have the quickest time.
Jones set the fastest individual finish of the day, smoking the course in 4m 19.62s.
He had finished second last year to Corcoran, who had also won the Year 5-6 boys title in 2017 while he was at Kai Iwi School, whereas Jones had previously won the Year 3-4 title back in 2014 while at St Johns Hill.
It was a similar story in the Year 7-8 girls race, as Whanganui Intermediate's Teresa Rennie finally got to stand on top of the podium.
Teresa is one of the incredible Rennie twins alongside sister Carrie, who had won this grade last year as well as the 2017 Year 5-6 title, with Teresa finishing third and second on those occasions.
This was another 1-2 finish for the family, which has occurred repeatedly in both Tough Kids and interschool cross country events.
It was also another podium for the Corcoran's as Westmere School's Emily came third, following up her second placing in last year's Year 5-6 race.
The older children's races continued the trend from earlier in the morning, when Westmere's Kaleb Compton won the Boys Year 5-6 title after coming runnerup in 2018.
Fordell's Maks Reitsma, the Year 3-4 winner in 2018, and St Johns' Ben Karatau took out the minor placings.
There was one successful title defence as St George's Hannah Byam again won the Girls Year 5-6 race to follow up her 2018 victory.
Minor placings went to St Johns' Isla Jones and Kai Iwi's Gabriella Valentine.
There were fresh winners in the Year 3-4 races and they were both from St Johns', as Ashton Baxter won the boys race ahead of St George's pupuls Knox Musson and Carter
Phoebe Rickard won the girls race, in front of Westmere's Kassidy Compton and Mosston's Iona Newton.
After the team race scores had been added into the tally, it was determined that St John's had retained their Toughest School Junior title, ahead of St George's and Westmere respectively.
However, there was a changing of the guard in for the Toughest School Senior prize, as after five straight years of Whanganui Intermediate being the winner, Westmere stepped up to claim the crown, with St George's coming third.
Years 3-4 — Boys: Ashton Baxter (St Johns Hill); 2. Knox Musson (St Georges); 3. Carter Richardson (St Georges). Girls: 1. Phoebe Rickard (St Johns Hill); 2. Kassidy Compton (Westmere); 3. Iona Newton (Mosston).
Years 5-6 — Boys: Kaleb Compton (Westmere); 2. Maks Reitsma (Fordell); 3. Ben Karatau (St Johns Hill). Girls: 1. Hannah Byam (St Georges); 2. Isla Jones (St Johns Hill); 3. Gabriella Valentine (Kai Iwi).
Years 7-8 — Boys: 1. Oliver Jones (St Georges); 2. Toby Corcoran (Waitotara); 3. Thomas Gowan (Westmere). Girls: 1. Teresa Rennie (Whanganui Intermediate); 2. Carrie Rennie (Whanganui Intermediate); 3. Emily Corcoran (Westmere).
Years 3-4: 1. Noah Toy, Ashton Baxter, Phoebe Rickard, Jamie Munro (St Johns); 2. Phoenix Campbell, Caius Grammaticogiannis, Kassidy Compton, Polly Davidson (Westmere); 3. Isaac Mahoney, Karlos Mow, Harper Ruby, Isla Carver (St Mary's).
Years 5-6: 1. Cooper Tull, Eli Abraham, Hannah Byam, Sienna Gilmore (St Georges); 2. Ethan Toy, Ben Karatau, Isla Jones, Zoe Broadhead (St Johns); 3. Sam Hadfield,. Kaleb Compton, Amy Davidson, Julliette Little (Westmere).
Years 7-8: 1. Teresa Rennie, Carrie Rennie, Tawai Pinnock, Regan Hanna (Whanganui Intermediate); 2. Connor Rees, Thomas Gowan, Emily Corcoran, Estelle Murray (Westmere); 3. Ollie Jones, Samuel Herman, Morgan Wilson, Rebecca Boden-Cave (St Georges).
Junior: 1. St Johns; 2. St Georges; 3. Westmere.
Senior: 1. Westmere; 2. Whanganui Intermediate; 3. St Georges.