Cambridge is reasonably close to Hamilton, which has its own parkrun, but far enough away to have a very different vibe. It’s also a very different course; where Hamilton is flat, lapping round a lake, and busy, Cambridge so far gets up to 70 or so runners and walkers, and just 29 on this Saturday, to run the undulating course. My, how it undulates – it starts halfway down a hill and is then an out-and-back, finishing up the same hill. Overall, my GPS reckoned on only 36m of elevation, which is very little, yet the course was tough – perhaps a more sedate approach to that first hill would have helped, or perhaps a warm up.
For a simple hard surfaced out and back, with 36m of elevation, this is a tough course that never quite lets you go – only on the gentle down section after halfway did I feel I had hit my stride, and at that point I was being inexorably closed down by the gent who finished in first. At least he ended up running a pb to stay ahead of me; plus he was nice and chatty, and I begrudged him barely at all.
Afterwards we sat on the grass and chatted, warmed by the sun. People do head for the cafe at the Avantidrome, at the top of the slope, but I had to take the rental car back to Auckland so didn’t join them.
Cambridge wasn’t recommended by anyone I met, and doesn’t seem to be on most people’s tourist itineraries – one of the reasons I chose to do it while I still had the car, as it allowed me to get to Raglan, and drive from there, rather than stay over in Cambridge, which doesn’t have any really cheap accommodation. It is, though, a very liveable city, with easy cycle and walking links throughout and plenty of greenery. Despite the uphill finish, I’m glad I bothered to visit.