Fantastic day at the track for 800 children from 18 schools
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
By Angela Marsay
Rugby Primary Athetics Association successfully held their annual athletics event in association with Rugby & Northampton Athletics club.
This year the event was held on the day of Rugby School’s Sports day so the medal podium looked amazing as it was adorned with flowers and ornamental trees.
There were a total of 18 schools taking part, with 800 children in the events in year’s 4, 5 and 6. Schools brought even more gazebos due to the predicted sunny weather and it turned out to be a fantastic combination of cooling breeze and sunshine!
We continued with the format from last year, with all the events for all year groups throughout the day, however, this year we were determined to fit in the mixed relays so started half an hour earlier.
We always choose to hold the event on the last day of National School Sports Week, as a great celebration of all the sport that takes place at school. It is wonderful to see all those children being able to take part at a competitive level, at a proper athletics track in front of a crowd.
The Mayor, Cllr Bill Lewis and Gwil Price MBE were on hand for photo opportunities, to talk to the children and award medals and flower garlands. The Mayor has many connections with Rokeby school and was thrilled to see the level of Sport the children were taking part in.
Cllr Lewis made the children feel incredibly special on the podium, taking the time to talk to them and chat with them regarding their efforts and interest in the sport.
Gwil Price, many schools and parents know, as he helps to organise and set up the courses for Rugby Primary Schools Cross Country trials and final and Warwickshire Schools Athletics Association. He was unaware until we invited him of the scale of the event and was amazed at the turn out and level of competition and passion for sport displayed by the children. He thoroughly enjoyed taking the time to talk to the children, congratulate them and present them with their medals and garlands.
Many thanks go to all the staff from the local schools who volunteered and helped run the events. Without the volume of staff the event is unable to run so smoothly.
Thanks to Janet Wright and her team of helpers we are able to time all heats and races making the event more formal and fair to those who take part. For each set of sprints there was roughly nine heats, with finals being run based on the six fastest times. For the longer distances two heats were ran for each race.
What is incredibly fantastic is to see so many children taking part in the variety of sports. This year was slightly affected by the fact that Induction day for schools was changed (after we had set our date), with many year 6 children attending their secondary schools on Thursday and Friday meaning they were unable to take part. However, this did mean that children who may not usually have had the opportunity to attend such an event did and were able to to join in.
Huge thanks must go to our sponsors Hotdrinks Ltd for sponsoring the individual vest numbers for each athlete and the certificates, again making the event appear more formal, and to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Centre and Rugby & Northampton Athletics Club for allowing us to use the track.
Rugby Runners (part of R&N AC) have kindly donated money to enable talented competitors who are not currently club members to take part in the hugely popular Summer Holiday Star Track Athletics Camps. Anybody who would like to attend and take part in athletics this summer holiday can do so. Camps run for three weeks over the holidays - details and online booking on www.wrighttrack.co.uk.
Thanks also go to the parents who took time off work to attend the event and support not only their children but their whole school.
We do desperately try to stick to timings, however sometimes we overrun or finish a bit early on an event. However, it is the volume of parents, who are there throughout the day cheering everyone on, even if their child is competing in only one event later in the afternoon that make all the difference. It makes such a difference to all the athletes, as we appreciate not every parent can attend.
For the first time this year we managed to run mixed relay events for all year groups - a goal we have been striving for since we changed the format five years ago.
This event runs last and depends upon how well we are doing for time. Each year group ran in heats and the winner of each heat was presented with a garland, rather than a medal. Even though this was not a timed or medal event the children still ran to the best of their ability and worked well as teams to pass the baton around the track.
It is such a lot of hard work to organise, however the rewards are endless, watching so many parents, children and enjoying a day of sport.