Many people are often impressed, even amazed, that a small town such as Hay River can successfully host a large sporting event like the NWT Track and Field Championships year after year.
Tim Borchuk, one of two track and field co-ordinators for the event, has seen the event grow over the years.
“Don’t forget. We didn’t start at 1,100 kids,” he said. “It was never that big instantly. It has grown to be that big. It used to be smaller communities from around.
“And then, more advertising and just the success of the event and what Hay River has to offer, it’s grown.”
Borchuk, the vice-principal at Diamond Jenness Secondary School, has been a co-ordinator since 1997, and for the past 15 years or so has shared those duties with J.J. Hirst, a teacher at the school.
Borchuk noted the event has even changed this year with a new discus cage, thanks to funding from Dominion Diamond Corporation.
The previous discus cage was 20-plus years old, he noted. “It was one of those things on our list that we wanted to replace. Of course, we updated it to make sure it has all the safety precautions and safety spots for the kids to stand. That was really nice.”
Borchuk noted organizers also got a pleasant surprise from the Rotary Club of Hay River Sunrise, which bought some new metal bleachers for the track and field, although they won’t be installed in time for this year’s event.
“Hopefully, we’ll get them after and have them ready to go for next year,” he said.
This will be the 29th edition of the NWT Track and Field Championships in Hay River.
Borchuk said the community comes together to support the event, which this year will run from June 5 to 7.
“All you need is just someone to say, ‘Let’s do it,’ and all of a sudden you find out that there’s so many people behind you that can make it happen,” he said.
Borchuk noted the meet is overseen by a steering committee.
“The beautiful thing about this event is everybody has their own little area that they work very diligently at, and they know it’s coming,” he said. “Track and field gets in the air and they start to go into action and it’s really very organized and a well-oiled machine.”
The meet is scheduled to begin on June 5 at 1 p.m. with the long-distance running events being the main event on the track. There will also be long jump, shot put and javelin happening in terms of field events.
“We schedule most of the senior events on the Wednesday,” said Borchuk. “Javelin is the one event we like to get out of the way early because there isn’t much of a crowd on Wednesday, and with the senior athletes, there’s a good chance the javelins will be flying. We don’t want anything unfortunate to happen.”
In terms of field conditions, Borchuk said everything is looking green and lush.
The event is held on the track and field of Diamond Jenness Secondary School.
— with files from James McCarthy