Little athletics raises more than just a sweat

WHILE many families were taking a leisurely break and enjoying the festivities of Australia Day, athletes from the East Derwent Little Athletic Centre were participating in a relayathon – running laps of Weily Park, in fact 679 laps in total. This was in addition to their normal little athletics meet which saw many athletes competing in a 1500m, 100m and hurdle races.The reason for their increase in exercise was not to see how many pairs of shoes they could wear out, but to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House.

The statewide Little Athletic Association this year asked all little athletic centres to consider hosting a relayathon to raise funds for a very worthwhile cause. East Derwent met the challenge, running the event in conjunction with their Australia Day Meet.

Athletes began the relayathon at 10am and by 1pm had carried batons around the 300-metre track a staggering 679 times. The distance covered was 203.7 km which equated to running to Launceston. All athletes on the day really got into the spirit of the event and were reluctant to stop at the designated 1pm. More importantly they raised an incredible $3000.

President Kendra Hey said she was extremely proud of the enormous effort everyone had contributed on the day. The athletes at the centre, who ranged from three to 15 years of age, were fantastic in their endeavours to keep the batons moving around the track for the three hours in very warm conditions.

The centre’s patron, Labor Member for Derwent, Michael Aird MLC said that Australia Day had produced some marvellous achievements from the young athletes of Brighton at the Weily Park Sports Centre.

“It was a hot day, but the kids kept the batons moving around the park right through it. They showed a lot of character and determination,” Mr Aird said.

The event was all about children raising money for sick children and their families. All money raised went directly to the Hobart Ronald McDonald House. Kendra said centre as grateful to the local and state government representatives and sporting personalities who attended and encouraged the children, and to the local businesses that were willing to kick start the fundraising with sponsorship and donations.

Labor candidate for Lyons, Rebecca White assisted on the day running laps and manning the starter’s gun.

“It’s an absolute pleasure to be associated with something like this. I’m so proud of everyone involved, not just the kids but also the parents who have run a great event.

“Kendra Hey and her team have done an amazing job.”

All in all it was a great day in what will hopefully become an annual event.

Max Lamb and Millicent Birchall both begin a lap as part of the relayathon to raise fund for Ronald McDonald House.
Max Lamb and Millicent Birchall both begin a lap as part of the relayathon to raise fund for Ronald McDonald House.