The morning of 3 August 2023 found Year 11 and 13 PE Studies students leaving at 7:45am and heading off to the Kumeu Showgrounds to participate in the Tough Guy Tough Gal Challenge for secondary school students. The weather had not been promising, the day before, but students were graced with clear skies and cool breezes – the perfect conditions – to assist them in the trials the day had coming for them.
The Tough Guy Tough Gal Challenge is an annual series of off-road running events in different venues across the North Island where all members of the public are free to participate, split into different age groups and varying lengths. Known colloquially as the Mud Run, the event consists of a course ranging from 1.5km to 6km, depending on the age group, through muddy paddocks and various obstacles ranging from crawling underneath barbed wire to sloshing through waist deep muddy water – a fun and challenging activity to get out of your comfort zone, and get right into the thick of things. For secondary school students in particular, this event was also a chance to receive NCEA credits which made the experience even more valuable.
After an hour of commuting, everyone arrived at the venue filled to the brim as there were 1000 other students from different schools. All wasted no time in getting geared up into old clothes, taping shoes to their legs and equipping individual timers with their respective numbers. The air was buzzing with numerous emotions, whether it be anticipation or flat-out dread for the condition they would be in after all went down. With the official start-up time at 11am, everyone gathered around the commentator’s makeshift stage and were debriefed on the race proceedings with 5 minutes to spare.
Once the clock hit 11am, students were released into the course in groups, at 1-minute intervals, and chaos ensued. After the first 100 metres, everyone got a taste of the muddiness, unaware that from there on, mud was to be their friend – or rather, their enemy. Try as one might, no one could avoid the inevitable mud splattering all over them as they thundered through the course alongside other equally muddy companions. All persevered through the challenges and did their best to make it to the end. After countless tunnels, ponds and high fences, everyone was able to finish the course – absolutely shattered, but safe and sound.
Ava Neems came out triumphant on the day, coming third in her category. Click this link for more detail.
Following a rigorous cleanup from the mud, students were rewarded with a trip to the Parakai Springs 20 minutes away where they could wind down in the pools and hot springs. It was well deserved for everyone.
Thank you to the PE Studies teachers who supported us through this endeavor, and to staff who arranged the logistics behind the trip! Well done to all the students who participated in the challenge – you are all truly tough guys and gals!