BOTWOOD, NL – Students from across the island competed in the fifth annual Peter's River Raid race on March 6 at the Shanawdithit Campgrounds.
Fifteen teams from Clarenville to Botwood entered the race, comprised of snowshoeing, cross country skiing and fire building.
“The whole idea of this race is to get more kids involved in non-traditional activities,” said Corey Samson of Memorial Academy in Botwood. “We find that we're reaching a different population of students because we're offering up something that's totally different. You don't have to excel at a lot of things to be able to do this.”
A team was sent off into the course every five minutes, and timed until the final team member crossed the finish line.
“We're gearing the race around participation,” said Samson. “We want you to have fun; just to finish the race is a reward in itself. A lot of the kids, they had to do two laps with the skis, and after their first lap you could see it in their faces. A lot of them were like, 'I don't know if I can do this.’ But they kept on going and they did it, and that's really rewarding.”
Each student that participated had their name entered into prize draws. Prizes were supplied by Grants Sports Excellence and School Sport Newfoundland.
Samson said the race has grown each year, and it wouldn't be possible without the extensive list of volunteers.
Members of the Peterview Salvation Army church woke up at 5 a.m. to make soup for the kids. The Botwood fire department was on hand to help build fires and boil water. Colemans in Botwood donated water for the students, and Hickman Honda and Central Wellness Coalition helped provide funding.
Carter Blake, a Grade 6 student and member of the Memorial Academy team from Botwood, said his favorite part of the race was skiing and learning the trails around the campground. Blake said he already knew how to start a fire because of his trips into the woods with his father.
The winning team was from Glovertown Academy, which finished the race in 49 minutes and 15 seconds. Team members received a homemade trophy constructed out of skis and snowshoes.