If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to drive a race car on a perfect spring day with the wind in face, you might want to get some tips from the Grade Five and Six students of three of Ararat’s primary schools. Ararat West Primary School, Ararat 800 Primary School, and St. Mary’s Primary School all put on their runners, helmets and seat belts for the 2016 Push Cart Challenge on Friday, October 14.
Endurance Race and Sprint Challenge
With four colourful pushcarts in tow, each school assembled several teams to compete in an Endurance Race and Sprint Challenge. The Endurance Race required the teams to run two laps around an impressive 800 meter track at the Alexandra Gardens in Ararat. Teams were made up of eight athletes, who each got the opportunity to participate as a pusher and a driver during the race. Each runner/driver combo ran 200 meters until they reached a change-over station, where they switched positions. Patiently waiting at the 400 and 800 meter change-over stations were two more athletes ready to take on over from their tired team mates. Each team blew all of the volunteers away as they raced around the track twice under eight and a half minutes.
The Sprint Challenge provided another realm of fun as teams ran even faster across a shorter distance. Teams were made up of five students, four pushers and one driver. At each end of the 50 meter track, volunteers eagerly awaited to turn the pushcarts around, and pushers were ready to switch with their team mates and run to the other end. “Don’t wear your sweater,” an athlete told his team mate. “We want the least amount of weight and resistance so we can run faster.” And boy, were they fast! The students ran so hard, that at times it seemed as though their feet barely touched the ground.
During their well-deserved lunch rest, the students were entertained by the colourful and talented TimTim. In his bright suit and rainbow shirt TimTim amazed students and volunteers with jokes, giants bubbles and balloon animals. The students’ laughter and amazement could be heard from across the gardens.
Students were also graced with the presence of kings and princesses as part of the Ararat Golden Gateway Festival. A new king, Rob Keith, was crowned right before their very eyes. Princesses Ashby Green and Cassandra Code gave the pushcarts a go with volunteers from Ararat College pushing them across the finish line.
After lunch, the grand finals of both the Endurance Race and Sprint Challenge took place. Team St. Mary 2 ran the fastest in the Endurance Race, smashing all the records in an amazing six minutes and 57 seconds. The Gunners from Ararat West Primary School, followed close behind at seven minutes 22 seconds, and team St. Mary 1 gave it a solid effort in seven minutes 24 seconds.
Ararat 800 Primary School demonstrated their speed when two of their teams made it to the grand final in the Sprint Challenge. With an incredible one second determining the winner, team 800B took the win, in one minute and six seconds. Team 800D were right on their heels finishing in one minute, seven seconds.
Brendan, CGLLEN’s Youth Project Officer, hosted the entire day with enthusiasm that had the students dancing, singing and cheering for their schools. Brendan also presented the trophies, supplied by Lardner Brothers, to each of the winners and runners up. King Rob Keith, presented the Spirit of the Day Award, recognizing sportsmanship and teamwork, to Nathan from St. Mary’s Primary School. Nathan showed incredible spirit as St. Mary’s ‘mechanic’. Every time St. Mary’s hopped into the pushcarts, Nathan was at the ready with his oil can, and sprayed the wheels for extra mobility. Evidently, it paid off as St. Mary’s took away the grand final trophy for the Endurance Race.
CGLLEN would like to thank all of the schools, students, teachers, volunteers and performers for attending, competing, and contributing to the amazing atmosphere on the day.