West Vancouver students ready to race in virtual track meet

Tomorrow's event will give elementary students a chance to run, jump, throw against each other

Don’t be surprised if you see any youngsters sprinting down the street in West Vancouver tomorrow – that’s likely students competing in the school district’s virtual track meet.

Track meet day is always a favourite for many elementary students, but this year COVID-19 has ensured that the little speedsters across Canada won’t be able to step into the blocks side-by-side for a good-old fashioned foot race. But tomorrow young athletes will get the next best things as West Vancouver students from kindergarten through Grade 7 will pace out their own runs, jumps and throws for a virtual track meet against their friends from across the district.

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“Normally those track meets are very cherished days in our community, and so that was the impetus for trying to do our best to recreate as much of that as we can, even though people will be doing it individually,” said Liz Hill, the district’s director of instruction, who will help run the meet along with lead organizer and Cypress Park Primary vice principal Robyn Evans.

At 8:30 a.m. sharp tomorrow morning every elementary student in the West Vancouver school district will be emailed a link to a website which will set out the competition, complete with warmup and instructional videos, details on uploading results and other fun and functional event information. Students will be tasked with tabulating their own results, likely with the help of parents or others in their bubbles, while competing in five events: timed 100-metre and 300-m races, a one-kilometre run that will be judged on completion, a tennis ball toss and the standing long jump.

Students will submit their scores to receive a participation award, with organizers hoping that many will take the opportunity to show off their school spirit by wearing team jerseys or shirts and hitting up the designated hashtags on social media channels.

“We think we've created a pretty good website that's easy for people to navigate through,” said Hill. “We've done it as best we can, and now we get to let the students run with it, literally.”

Organizers are hoping to capture some of the excitement of the annual track meet that is a school-year highlight for so many teachers and students.

“It's one of our favourite days of the year,” said Hill. “It brings all of our elementary schools across West Vancouver together. We have a wonderful tradition of coming together at West Van Secondary and participating. Leading up to it lots of amazing things happen in our schools, and we didn’t want to lose that just because we weren't in-person, in-class in our schools.”

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