Series seen as training for champs

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A series of cross-country races for primary and intermediate schoolchildren will begin next weekend.

The Kids Cross Country Series will be held throughout winter and before the Otago Primary and Intermediate Schools Cross Country Championships in September.

Sport Otago athletics development officer Annelies Inghelbrecht said the series was to give children the opportunity to have some “age-appropriate” training before the event.

“It gives them them an opportunity to get some experience running against [their] peers and get a little bit of competition and get that feeling of being under a little bit of pressure.”

Each of the five races will be hosted by a different Dunedin athletics club, which would allow them to showcase their grounds and resources, she said.

There will be activity stations at the race next weekend to celebrate Oceania Athletics Day.

It would allow children to warm up in a fun way and keep busy while they were waiting for their race, she said.

Inghelbrecht said between 50 and 100 children took part in the races last year and hoped this year would be the same.

There was about 80 runners at the first race last year, she said.

“It was quite foggy and cold and miserable. That’s cross-country running, I guess. It’s good to see them out there.”

The races were unlikely to be cancelled unless bad weather affected road conditions, she said.