Cross Country in a Freezing Southerly!

Brrrrr, I shall try to stay positive in this post! I said all the right things at the time; but in my head I couldn’t help reminiscing of Sport’s Day when I was a child… egg and spoon; sack races; wheel barrow races; 100 metres (for Mum’s and Dad’s too!), balancing bean bags on our heads. Do they still do those type of ‘Sport’s Day’ in the UK?

Well, here in New Zealand, the children start early on being ‘tough’! I didn’t run my first cross-country till senior school at the age of ten (and remember my jaw falling open to the ground when my Grandfather told me how as a boy, growing up in Scotland, he had to run 5 miles across the fields to school and back every day – in all weathers!).

Undoubtedly, the whole morning would have been a different affair in a blazing glory of sunshine… but alas the weather God’s weren’t so kind. A howling Southerly from Antarctica blew up through the field. Each year group took it in turns to run (each run lasted no more than 10 minutes). The children then watched the other children completing their runs, cheering along with their ‘Whanau’ groups.

Charli with her ‘Whanau’ group’s banner:

Sophie braving the elements in preparation to cheer Charli on her run:

Charli on her run (spot her in the red coat!):

After Charli’s run, I sat huddled up with Charli and Sophie on a knee each for warmth. We sat for an hour and a half, with me saying how proud of them I was and how brave they were. The words, ‘Madness, crazy, ludicrous…’ kept running through my head and I really had to fight them back and try to stay positive. I picked blades of thick grass and blew them like a gypsy flute. We played ‘spot the runners’ in the bushes as the senior children zig-zagged through the gorse covered hill-side.

After the race they returned to their classrooms for a lovely story before being turfed outside for lunch. Unless the weather is absolutely atrocious they eat their lunch, picnic style, outside. They sit on the ground. No cosy hall with tables and chairs and warm, smiling dinner ladies. Charli really wanted to come with me and it took me a lot of strength and encouragement to leave her behind. Sophie and I are now back at home, enjoying a warm drink, before returning to school in a while to pick Charli up. She definitely deserves a Star Wars figure for her efforts today!

At least her pom-poms went down a treat. Straight after her run she managed a few minutes of cheering before huddling back into me for warmth!

UPDATE: When I picked Charli up at home time she said she was so pleased she had stayed in the end, as she’d had a good afternoon and also told me that the teacher said she could go into the classroom to play quietly half way through lunch. Bless x I took her to Junglerama to play with another boy from her school. Both the girls had a blast. All rugged up here tonight. Heater’s are on full blast. Is Autumn coming early?!