They pushed firetrucks, hauled sandbags, carted pellets, ran through the mudflats, bear crawled through blasts from a fire engine hose and carried logs down Queen Elizabeth II Drive.
Nineteen students from Nelson College, Nelson College for Girls, Nayland College, and Youth Nelson showed true grit during the fifteenth Cactus Longest Day on Saturday.
Starting at 6.30am, the students ran around town doing physical fitness, team-building and endurance challenges designed to test them, and instructor Greg Witika says they rose to the occasion.
“No one can come off the street and get through the Longest Day without those eight weeks of training, it was their day to take charge and they really stepped up,” he says.
“It’s all about teamwork and understanding that the team is bigger than any individual, they’re so much more when they work together and what they once thought was virtually impossible is purely just a matter of applying themselves.”
The eight week Cactus programme is run by Nelson Bays Police, Youth Nelson, and Wairua Fitness.