Momona, New Zealand
Just a short jog from my hostel to the start this time, and it was lovely to feel I was among friends rather than strangers. Emma had continued her party trick of remembering people’s names after one meeting, so I got a “morning, John!” as I jogged in, and a couple of cheers on the course; as good as being at home.
If there’s one thing I like more than heading to a new parkrun, it’s heading back for a second go – those runs I’ve tried multiple times are much rarer than the single appearances, and it gives my overall parkrun list a slightly less obsessive look. Slightly. After the run a Kiwi tried to phrase a question about my parkrun odyssey, and couldn’t find much more than “but, have, um, when… why?” He travels for work and has now checked for local parkruns in Denmark and the UK, though I pointed out my sort-of-envy that he would probably not be so desperate as to stay extra nights, or try to switch location if not initially near a run for Saturday morning.
The run itself was hard, but better than last week. I’m not sure whether to put that down to the cooler weather, one more week of training effect or having my racing shoes on for their valedictory appearance. I ran each section a little quicker, the biggest improvement being a 10 seconds-quicker final mile, probably thanks to finally knuckling down on the last climb, on the out part of the out and back section before the long sharp downhill towards the bridge. From there it is 200m to the finish, and that section was a few seconds quicker, too. I had even managed to run up the big climb each time, again more through bloody mindedness than fitness. In an overly optimistic moment in the week I’d wondered if I might attack the hill, but as I slowed to a plod immediately on hitting it, I was motivated only of being able to write “I ran up it all four times”, not any fantasy of really hitting it hard. This really may be the toughest parkrun I’ve done.
Again this week there was a female course record behind me, though by a different runner than last week. Last week’s record setter also went more quickly, but had to settle for second a few seconds back. Looking behind me I could see they weren’t far off, but managed to put a bit more distance between us rather than being caught on the ups, so perhaps I managed a slightly more even pace.
Only 36 of us this week, the prospect of more rain like yesterday keeping people away. I had organised my check out at the hostel better so could stay in the cafe to quiz and be quizzed and the atmosphere was fabulous – Emma and partner Ade were joined by his parents and time flew; laughter in general, disbelief at parkrun tourism specifically.
NZ parkruns: 7 at 6 venues.
Finished: 2, 2, 3, 3, 6, 7, 12.
In the afternoon I hopped on an intercity bus to the airport. With a couple of hours spare on my pass, that was by far the cheapest way to get there (cost; around 30 mins off my pass balance, c.$4, as against $20 on a shuttle), and luckily the timing worked, a 1.55 bus dropping me off around 2.30 for a 4.30 flight to Auckland. On Sunday I take off for Hawaii, cross the date line and so land to do Saturday evening all over again.
Results from Dunedin parkrun, event 8, 1/3/14.