CHLAC. In two weekends of little athletics championships, Circular Head’s youngest athletes beat a whopping 159 personal bests.
When the Circular Head Little Athletics Centre commenced its first meets for the season in October last year, most children were racing against their peers.
However, their attention quickly turned to bettering themselves.
The centre’s records and rankings registrar Sue-Ellen Wigg said the focus at the centre is on personal bests.
“We make a big effort on saying it’s about you [not your peers],” she said. “By the end of the season it’s, ‘did I get a PB?'”
Mrs Wigg said the attitude is infectious, with the children cheering each other on and excited when others succeed.
“They have lots of fun . . . you can see them running down the track with a smile on their faces.”
Just under 50 children registered for the season, with a mix of boys and girls aged from tiny tots (three and four-year-olds) to under-15s. Some of them natural athletes, while others are there to give it a go.
Though the little ones are eased into the Saturday morning drill, as they get older their events gradually increase and they are introduced to endurance-based track events, such as the 800-metre and 1500m runs.
During the season, events are rotated over a three-week cycle, however the club championships saw children take on 14 track-and-field events over two weeks.
As well as an average of three personal bests beaten per child, the centre was busily entering all the club records as they were broken.
In the first week of championships, 18 records were broken.
In the second, five more.
Mrs Wigg said new personal bests and broken records were a weekly occurrence, with all children showing a “massive improvement” over the six months.
The next wave of young athletes will commence Saturday morning meets in October.