By Greg Price
History will be made come Oct. 2 and the Taber Tout Pond will be showcased in the process.
Horizon School Division will be host to its first-ever divisional cross-country championship.
“For junior and senior high zones cross country, they’ll take anybody. For track and field you have to qualify locally, but for cross country, it can be 150 kids per category,” said Aaron Edlund, junior high Horizon athletics director, and organizer of the first-ever Trout Pond Trot. “But some school divisions have a local cross-country race and others don’t. Horizon was one that didn’t before.”
Aaron was unfamiliar with Taber’s new Trout Pond area west of town until his wife advocated for it as a great recreational area.
“My wife kept telling me about the Trout Pond and she and my daughter would go around walking on it and she loved it. One night, she took me out there and I couldn’t stop thinking this was the answer to hosting a cross-country race,” said Edlund. “It’s built in and it’s one lap around the pond. Taber has done a great job with their upgrades. It’s a little bit rolly, but it’s not too hilly. I also loved the fact that someone could watch the whole race from one location. Runners don’t really disappear. They of course run away from you, but you can watch them the whole time. There’s parking out there, the port-a-potties are already in there. If you can make cross-country as fun as possible it will draw kids, and I think the Trout Pond will help with that.”
Edlund approached the Town of Taber about the availability of the area for the race and recreation officials were fully onboard with the concept.
“It’s a mutually beneficial thing. I still think there’s a lot of Taber people still don’t know how great the upgrades have been to the Trout Pond and this cross-country race can showcase that,” said Edlund. “The location is great for a race and the town is trying to promote the area. There will be a couple hundred kids out there with their parents, where I’m sure some of have never been there before.”
Edlund has e-mailed all the schools in the local area about the race, including St. Mary’s who is in a different school division. There are co-ed categories grade 3&4 and Grade 5&6.
Races at the Taber Trout Pond begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Races will then be staggered every 15 to 20 minutes for older age groups up until approximately high school girls and boys up until 7 p.m.
Edlund admits, there are going to be growing pains at first for the Trout Pond Trout given this year serves as a pilot project in its first year of existence.
“I’m hoping people aren’t expecting a super professional cross country race. For this year I want to see what it looks like,” said Edlund. “I don’t even know if we are going to do race bibs. For now it will be show-up and run. The track all around the pond is 2.4 kilometres. We are going to do one lap for simplicity.”
For more information on the Trout Pond Trot you can log onto http://www.horizon-athletics.weebly.com. If parents want to register their child for the Trout Pond Trot, they are encouraged to contact their school directly.