Dame Valerie was soon swamped by enthusiastic students. Enthusiastic participation in the warmup. Dame Valerie tells the volunteer marshals to ditch the umbrellas. The shotputter’s high fiving hand was kept busy as runners headed to the finish line.
The eyes of the world’s runners were on Silverdale School last week as hundreds of students, encouraged by Dame Valerie Adams, kicked off an international running event.
The run was live streamed and took place in eight cities – including Tokyo, Buenos Aires and Vancouver – over 24 hours.
It is the first time that the attempt to “outrun the sun”, with a series of 1.6km runs has been held as part of Global Running Day, June 6. The idea was that each event would start at the same local time to create a ‘simultaneous’ worldwide celebration of running.
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) only announced the creation of the event last month, and the local involvement was also arranged at short notice.
Hibiscus Coast Athletics Club president David Kayes of RunNZ says that Athletics NZ approached him about putting on an event in Auckland just a few weeks ago.
David’s children attend Silverdale School and he says he suggested it as an option because of its ideal location near to an easy running track.
“Initially it was more about putting something on in Auckland city, but we had no trouble convincing them that Silverdale was a great location,” he says.
Principal Cameron Lockie was keen to support the event, which doubled as the school’s cross country day.
In total, 652 children from the school took part, as well as some teachers. The juniors ran 1.6km and the Year 5 and 6 students 2.8km on a course that went around the school field and included part of Metro Park East and Orewa Estuary walkway.
Shotput champion Dame Valerie Adams took time out from training for the upcoming Diamond League series to get the children up and running in cold, rainy conditions. As well as taking part in the mass warm up, she got the event started and was there at the finish to ‘high five’ each child.
Nothing dampened the children’s enthusiasm for the event, which was all about participation.
David says what he loved was that the kids’ enthusiasm exemplified why kids should keep cross country running.
“It was clear that they didn’t care about the weather – they were having so much fun,” he says.
He says the feedback from Athletics NZ was very positive and the school is also keen to get involved again.