The convoy of buses arrived one after another in Hay River on Wednesday morning and that can only mean one thing.
It’s the NWT Track and Field Championships and the 2019 edition of the largest annual sporting event in terms of people got going on Wednesday afternoon. The long-distance running events happened on day one along with action in long jump, javelin, shot put and high jump.
The peewee boys 1,000-metre race was one of the opening events of the day and it turned out to be an exciting finish. In the end, Rylan Scarfe of N.J. Macpherson ended up crossing the finish line to claim victory.
He said it felt like a hockey game with some bumping down the stretch on the final lap but it wasn’t anything too serious.
“It’s wasn’t really physical but more like a battle,” he said.
Scarfe led for much of the before being pulled back by part of the trailing pack on the final lap and he knew it.
“Every time one of the runners tried to pass me, I just picked up my pace,” he said. “I tried to get ahead of everybody right off the start so I could set the pace for everyone.”
Shannon Mercer also won an event on day one, that being the bantam girls 1,500-metre race in a time of 5:51.00. She was the only runner to break the six-minute mark.
Tobi Taylor-Dusome of St. Pat’s is usually the prohibitive favourite in the master women’s long jump each year and she didn’t disappoint this time around, jumping 4.16 metres to come out on top.
She said she didn’t think it would hold up.
“It felt good but not that good,” she said. “Gina (Michel) said it did look good and I told her to wait and see and sure enough, it was.”
Taylor-Dusome started off wearing a sweatshirt but took it off for her last jump.
She said it brought back memories of her brother, Cory Taylor, and his penchant for motivation.
“The first one felt good, the second one not so good,” she said. “Cory came over and was sort of razzing me saying “come on, old lady”, that sort of stuff. I just went for it and did it.”
After competing for so many years and being the one to beat for so many years, Taylor-Dusome said bouts of nerves always creep up before an event but in a good way.
“I always get some nerves,” she said. “If you’re not a little bit nervous in a way, you aren’t prepared properly. It’s just an excitement of sorts and it’s so much fun doing it with the kids cheering me on. You don’t have to stop being active once your school years are up. You have to be a lifelong learner and active for your entire life.”