THEIR annual cross country carnival may have been put on hold, but Mater Dei Catholic College students are getting the chance to test themselves against rivals across the country after registering for the Great Australian Cross Country Challenge.
Mater Dei is one of more than 300 schools to sign up for the online initiative, which allows students to set times and compare themselves against students outside their school.
"Over the three months they can submit as many times as they like and there's prizes up for grabs," Mater Dei sports coordinator Nathan Irvine said.
"We weren't looking necessarily to replace our cross country. I'm someone who runs most days and just seeing the number of people out running and riding and doing exercise, a lot of our students doing that around Lake Albert especially.
"It's giving them that opportunity until sport comes back to be out and active and give them a goal to aim for.
"Some kids have already improved their times quite a bit and it not only helps their physical well being, but also their mental and social well being.
"We've got a number of staff who have signed up as well so it's a chance to challenge their teachers."
Year 12 student and avid runner Macy Milgate said the initiative has been a god send to provide a challenge for students and allow them to scratch their competitive itch.
"It's been tough to find the motivation, but once you start doing it it helps with motivation for study and also mental health," she said.
"I've been running beforehand and trying to get 6km runs in each day to keep my fitness up as I'm a big gym goer, and not having that has been hard.
"Last year I came second (in the school's cross country) and I just fell in love with running, it's quite exhilarating.
"Having the running track at the lake is so convenient and I'm seeing a lot more people out."