NWT Track and Field Championships stand the test of time

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To absolutely no one’s surprise, several hundred volunteers have once again stepped forward to help stage the NWT Track and Field Championships.

We say to no one’s surprise because the fact that volunteers support the territorial event is about as certain a bet in Hay River as the sun coming up tomorrow.

That continuing dedication is both amazing and impressive. How could it be that, even after so many years, the support for the NWT Track and Field Championships shows absolutely no sign of waning?

This special edition of The Hub might offer one clue, because putting it together helped us better understand an aspect of the community’s continuing devotion to the event.

Quite simply, the NWT Track and Field Championships are an important part of Hay River’s identity and are woven into its history — both community history and personal history.

That became clear to us as we were going through the games’ hundreds of records, which are printed in this special edition. There are so many records that they take up page after page.

Alicia Norris of Fort Smith, left, battles for position with Angeline Magtibay of Hay River during the midget girls 3,000 metre event at the NWT Track and Field Championships in Hay River in 2010.
NNSL file photo

And looking through those records, a funny thing happened. We remembered many of the record-holders from years ago when they were attending school in Hay River. Some still live in the community.

We started wondering what the parents, brothers and sisters, and other relatives and friends think when they see a familiar name in the list of record-holders.

There would be something special about that. It would be akin to seeing a familiar face in an old photo.

There would be a combination of nostalgia and fond recollections, and even a bit of pride in seeing that a record is standing the test of time.

Some of the records will also bring a smile.

We smiled when we saw that Brendan Green still holds records from the mid-’90s when he was competing as a tyke – eight or nine years old. In fact, he still has four records in various age divisions up to when he was a teenager – in a 400-metre race, long jump, triple jump and a 1,500-metre race.

Green may have gone on to a distinguished career as a biathlete and represented Canada in three Olympic Winter Games, but it is still quite notable that he holds territorial track and field records set as a child and as a teenager.

When his family and friends see those records, they no doubt stir a lot of memories.

The same can be said of family and friends of anyone who still has a name in the records.

Once we realized that, the dedication of people in Hay River to the NWT Track and Field Championships was a bit more understandable.

It is not just a track and field meet. It is part of the fabric of this community and part of family histories.

We have no doubt that some new records will be set this week, and that in a couple of decades from now someone will have fond recollections upon seeing those records.

We also fully expect that the championships will still be held in Hay River.