More than 900 students from Central Alberta took part in the CWAJHAA (Central West Alberta Junior High Athletic Association) cross country run at Sylvan Lake’s Leader Field last Thursday.
The run, hosted by École Fox Run School, is held every year in the district, typically at a different school than the previous year. This year, however, was the second consecutive year Fox Run hosted the run.
“It was cold, of course, but (the students) all look forward to it,” said Kathy Tuck, Fox Run teacher and cross country coach. “It’s a big deal to attend.”
Students represented schools in Sylvan Lake, Eckville, Stettler, Rocky Mountain House, Red Deer, and other places around Central Alberta.
Although they braved cold winds that blew for most of the afternoon, students were relieved to not have to run through snow, as they did last year.
“That was brutal,” said Tuck.
She added that the event would likely be passed on to another school next year. Lots of work goes into organizing, but hosting it for the second consecutive year made life easier, she admitted.
“It’s a lot of time when you’ve got 900 kids,” she said. “We start planning it (in September) and getting things organized until the event takes place.”
Creating nametags, determining who has and hasn’t paid and laying out the course are just some of the things that need to be considered.
Positive feedback from participants, parents and school staff indicated feelings of satisfaction.
“They’re just very appreciative of us organizing it, because they know what goes into doing it,” said Tuck. “It’s a big event, and it was made so the kids were able to have a great experience.”
Part of the experience revolves around the notion of being able to meet and compete against students from different grades and schools.
The event also brings attention to a sport that Tuck feels at times goes unrecognized.
“A lot of times, the runners don’t get the kind of attention that volleyball or basketball might get,” she said. “You see lots of crossing with different grades and schools, so it’s good. There’s good sportsmanship.”
Several of Fox Run’s students placed well in the race. Jared Howse was third in the Grade 6 boys category; Lauren Howse placed 11th in the Grade 6 girls category; Kyle Richmond placed first in the Grade 7 boys category; Kamryn Mollins-Selent placed 11th in the Grade 8 girls category; Max Arnold placed third in the Grade 8 boys category; and Brayden Laternus placed 17th in the Grade 8 boys category.