HELPING HAND: Harry Rampling gets a helping hand up the muddy bank from an Allandale team-mate while Ty Cochrane waits his turn. Photo Claire House

MORE than 100 students from two Eastern Bay primary schools got wet and dirty last week when they took part in the annual Tough Guy and Gal challenge in Rotorua.

Whakatane’s Allandale School took 73 ”tough” year 3 to 6 children to the event while Edgecumbe Primary School had 54 students competing.

Held at Lakes Ranch, near Hell’s Gate, more than 1000 children took part in the event, which is in its sixth year for juniors.

Year 3 and 4 students competed on a 1.5 kilometre course, while years 5, 6, 7 and 8 took on a three kilometre course.

The competition involved scaling a hillside using rope as an aid, climbing obstacles, crawling under tunnels and through a spider maze, not to mention the rivers of mud that were a highlight for most children.

Allandale School sees great benefit from participation in this challenging event and takes carloads of students over to Rotorua each year. This year it had a record number of students involved.

“We feel it is growing a culture of perseverance and resilience, as well as the huge satisfaction and success our tamariki gain from finishing,” says teacher Janene Giordano.

“Our children wore their medals with pride for days afterward.”

Edgecumbe Primary teacher Matt Hata says the weather was expected to be thunderstorms and heavy rain, but the sun shone for the event.

“However, there was heaps of mud and water. The kids absolutely had a ball, which you could see all over their faces.”

“They got covered in mud and couldn’t stop talking about it. There were a few tired children on the way home.”

Hata says all the children received a medal, a certificate and a Hell’s Pizza coupon for their efforts.