Kapiti Coast parkrun, North Island, NZ

Kapiti Coast parkrun map.
Kapiti Coast parkrun map.

A new Saturday, and a new parkrun in New Zealand. Kapiti Coast started back in January 2015 so has run for a good while. As I spent 6 nights in Paraparaumu last time I was here, I had noticed that parkrun had started very nearby and always fancied doing it.

I rolled up at 7.45 and it was very quiet. Flags showed the thing was happening, but there were only a couple of runners by the start, a handful warming up and a couple getting out of cars. The scene below, with a line of cars appearing, didn’t occur till nearer 8am.

Cars arriving, Otaihanga domain – not much before 8am
Cars arriving, Otaihanga domain – not much before 8am.

The run itself, despite the name, starts inland and heads away from the coast. It’s pretty, though, with the Waikanae river always on one side of you and greenery aplenty. It is also fairly quick. The course is as flat as you like, with very gentle turns in the course and a 180 at the 2.5km point. It isn’t super fast, though, because of the gravel (and larger stones) underneath that mean you need to pick a path and keep your eyes open. Certainly I felt I’d worked pretty hard for a flat parkrun. The cloud-covered humidity would have contributed to that, too.

Event director imparts wisdom
Event director Andy Jenkins dispenses wisdom (and parkrun wristbands).

The post run social is right at the finish line, with a coffee car arriving just before we all set off, ready for customers at the end. I felt like I talked to half the field, helped by already knowing a number of them – I had been in touch with Mark O’Sullivan, who put me up last time I was here, and he brought the family. The whole event is super friendly, though, with a welcoming (British) run director and other runners happy to share wisdom and stories at the finish. Looking through the event photos on Facebook, I felt like I had spoken to half the people there – not impossible, with under 70 runners, but really just an indication of the open and friendly atmosphere.

Crowd gathered at the finish
Crowd gathered at the finish.

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