More than 600 Grade 4 and 5 students from across Sooke School District 62 gathered at Royal Bay Secondary School in Colwood Friday for the first track meet since the pandemic began more than two years ago.
The field was lined with hundreds of cheering friends, family, and fellow students as boys and girls of all skill levels competed in 800, 400, 100 metre, and relay events throughout the day, despite ever-changing weather which saw the track steam up during breaks from the rain.
“This track meet is so significant right now because it has been two full years since we last had one,” said Camille McFarlane, principal of Sangster Elementary School.
“This is the first real time all of the elementary schools have been together since 2019. To see the excitement on all the children’s’ faces is amazing.”
McFarlane said the event is particularly special for the Grade 5 students participating, as it is the first and only elementary school track meet they will experience because of pandemic delays and graduation dates.
She said attendance at the event far surpassed expectations, which each of the 17 participating schools bringing around 50 students each to the event.
“Each student has the option of joining a relay team, and that’s where the majority of our participants come from. Many schools will have two to four relay teams entered.”
The entire event was organized by the volunteer-run district Sports Council, and McFarlane said their efforts to make the event a reality can’t be celebrated enough.
“There are families in tears because they are watching their kids race for the first time.”