Puarenga parkrun

Puarenga parkrun route
Puarenga parkrun route – 2 laps. (Horse) racecourse at bottom left.

Puarenga park is in Rotorua, New Zealand. It’s pretty central, so shouldn’t be more than a walk or jog from wherever you might stay in town. There’s plenty of parking if you’re driving there. It’s a two lap course, just short of 2.5k, so the finish is a little further along than the start line.

Puarenga start line
Puarenga start line – wide before you head into the 2/3 person wide paths.

The top part of the course, which you can see wiggling along at the top of the diagram, is mostly through a geothermal area – vapour rising, smell of sulphur in the air. The pre-run briefing takes newcomers through the necessary safety requirements, but there’s nothing too tricky. That said, there are two points where you emerge onto a large open area and have to pick out the path, using the occasional signs to spot it, and making sure not to go beyond the boundary marked with poles.

Geothermal area
The path is clearer than it looks here, but at pace it takes a second to pick it out.
Archery range
The RD jokes about the dangers. Just don’t go on to the archery range.

It’s a pretty flat course, but with twists and turns, gravel underfoot, some lumpy rocks and occasional tree roots to watch for and the locals suggesting it is a trifle long, it isn’t the quickest one around. That doesn’t stop the first finisher running 17:xx most weeks, mind, and he had company today. After a few corners, they were out of sight and I got on with my run on my own. It was a tough old run, but a good honest effort, and another consistent pace, if slower than the flat courses at Anderson and Palmerston North.

Flag to mark parkrun location
This flag is at the entrance to the park, to help you find the place.
Clear skies looking away from the start.
Clear skies looking away from the start.
Cloudy finish
Cloudy finish. St Patrick’s day celebratory outfits on show. Apparently the left-most outfit bags a little too low to be easy to run in.


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