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.
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.
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.