There were logs to leap over, water features to wade through and farmland to navigate, but the best of Manawatu's secondary-school runners were up for the challenge.
About 340 students from 14 high schools throughout the wider Manawatu area, including Marton, Dannevirke, Feilding and Palmerston North, raced their way across a hilly cross-country course at Massey University yesterday.
The annual Manawatu inter-secondary school cross-country event was run at the university for the first time after shifting from the usual sandy course at Manawatu College in Foxton.
The Massey course, which starts and finishes at the Sports and Rugby Institute, will be used for the New Zealand secondary schools cross-country championships on June 21, where some of the best high school-aged athletes in the country will descended on Palmerston North.
Event organiserand Sport Manawatu secondary school sports advisor Zoe Anderson said hosting Manawatu's event in the same settings as the championship gave students who qualified for the nationals a home advantage.
The courses varied from 3km to 6km, depending on age and gender, and a number of athletes with disabilities and students in wheelchairs also competed on a shorter course.
Anderson said it was a challenging course that had runners testing their balance and agility as the track traversed rolling farmland and bush trails. A couple of sprained ankles and a few cuts and bruises were the only injuries received on the day.
- Manawatu Standard
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