“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Cross Country is no doubt a day that makes some of us nervous. Even after five years of the same drill, the wait before your race is still absolutely terrifying. However, this is also a chance for the talented runners among us to shine, and an opportunity to acknowledge them for the hard work that they put in without the rest of us knowing.

The event for 2024 was a little different from past years, as unpredictable rain showers prevented the school from being able to enjoy sitting outside. But in classic Macleans spirit, the race continued to go on. The senior boys were the first to be sent out into the downpour while the rest of us watched from the commons, waiting for our own races.

Even though the track was muddy and conditions less than ideal, many of the top athletes still went all out. National cross country runner and Commonwealth swimming champion Danielle Asiata won her division for the second time, and completed a record of top three for all five years she’s been at Macleans. However, this wasn’t without many hours of hard work, as she finds the time to fit one or two runs into her week around training, school, and social activities. Her strategies for cross country will be remaining top secret but she assures the cross country hopefuls out there that running is definitely worth it, adding both mental and physical benefits to her life!

For the first 2 years of our Macleans journey, the Junior Run – more commonly known as the Thirkell – is a mandatory part of the P.E. curriculum in which a similar course to Cross Country is completed. Although some of us may not regularly run in our own time like Danielle does, this gives us a chance to practise two or three times a year. The moniker originated from the surname of a student who ran the track in ten minutes and thirty seconds. But last year this historic record was beaten with Year 12 Ben Oxford’s time of just over ten minutes, and is now named in his honour instead.

During one of the last school assemblies of Term 1, Mr Hargreaves left us with the Māori Whakataukī: “Seek the treasure that you value most dearly, if you bow your head, let it be to a lofty mountain.” Ironically, the Macleans hill proved to be too difficult for most, with 65% of students ultimately choosing to walk up it!

Even so, incredible resilience and sportsmanship were shown by all students that day. Not everyone is a natural born runner which is perfectly fine, and for non-athletic based students it’s not surprising that jogging 3 to 5 kilometres is a difficult challenge. But the important thing was the effort put in to cross the line.

When asked for examples of people who showed great perseverance or sportsmanship during the race, one student stated that a girl “fell three times but just kept getting up”. Someone else in a similar situation was seen to be laughing with friends and continuing although they had received a body-full of mud. Even Mr Hargreaves noticed how there was “a student with a moonboot” completing the course. Truly a demonstration of Effort 100%!

Congratulations to everyone who ran Cross Country for 2024 and a big thanks to all the staff who put up with the rain to mark the course for us students. Now the question for next year is – will you be able to conquer that mountain?

Senior Boys
Deputy Head Girl Mia Young
Junior Girls
Head Boy Alex Fenwick (left)
Senior Girls cheering on the Senior Boys race

10th May, 2024
Written by Ally Chu, edited by Emma Li
Photography by Emma Li

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