MILL RIVER – On a crisp Saturday, 661 students from across P.E.I. flocked to Mill River.
Joan Clark proudly watched her grandson, Connor Clark, race down the trails surrounded by a changing palette of deciduous trees, in the pre-novice category.
“It gets him active and outside, instead of watching computer games,” Joan said with a grin while amid the crowd of 1,500 spectators. “It’s good for them. And it doesn’t matter how he performs because I’m very proud of him.”
The 2017 P.E.I. School Athletic Association Source for Sports provincial cross-country championships featured runners from 53 different schools from across the Island competing in eight different age categories.
Paul Goguen, PEISAA cross-country commissioner, says the event has a long-running history.
“I’ve been a teacher for 36 years, and they had it ever since then, if not more. And we’ve hosted nine years in a row at this site.”
The Mill River championship showcased the pre-novice to intermediate categories.
Provincial championships for seniors and juveniles were held at Charlottetown Rural High School on Oct. 17. A total of 136 men and women ran the set course at Rural.
The sport, which kicks off the school year, shows no signs of slowing down.
“We were up about 60 runners from last year’s number. The temperature was six degrees at the start of the intermediate boys’ race in the morning, but it warmed up during the day to about 10 degrees by the afternoon,” said Goguen.
“We are so thankful to the Mill River Resort and their staff for allowing us to use their facility. It gives us an opportunity to offer a safe environment for students to run, and lots of areas to make each course different and difficult for all the different age levels,” he added.
The Westisle Family of Schools hosted the event for the 16th straight year, along with the help of the Hernewood and M.E. Callaghan School leadership students.
“It was an excellent day without a glitch,” Goguen chimed. “Once the races started the meet ran like clockwork, it stated on time and finished on time, awards were presented while the next category ran their race.”
For information on race results, visit http://www.peisaa.pe.ca.