I had planned to run Western Springs parkrun this morning. It’s an easy 4k or so from my hostel. Imagine my consternation, then, yesterday at 6pm when I found out, via a routine reminder from parkrun NZ, that it was cancelled. I had written off Millwater as too hard to get to, so faced running Cornwall park again. At 5 miles away, that seemed a little fiddly, too, particularly with rain around.
I started looking at options to get to MIllwater, wondering if I could get across the harbour bridge (not on foot or by bike, it turns out, though there are buses) and then connect to make up for Google suggesting that I could only get there by 8.15. 8am start. After much twiddling of options, I found that the NEX bus actually leaves from Victoria Park, nearby, at 7:13, and arrives 3km away from the start at around 7:50. Worth a punt – run the 3k, start 5 minutes late, catch everyone up.
And the bus at that time might even be a minute or two early. Which is how it turned out. I jumped off and ran straight off down the road, disappointed to find a hill in my way. A little bit of navigation under blessedly clear skies later, and 8am saw me running down the finish straight, watching runners gathering on the start line ahead of me. Well, they can’t start now they’ve seen me, and so I had time to get there, turn around, hear ‘3-2-1’ and then go. Not enough time, though, to dump my jumper and cap. Actually, I could have done, but it looked like rain and I figured they’d be drier in my hand.
So I made it. The route is pretty easy to follow, so I had figured I’d be alright to have a go at catching the tail markers with a late start. It follows the main road for a few hundred metres, then turns left and right to go over a bridge and follow a twisting and undulating route past the river with clear views off to the left. And then to the right at the turn around point, for a pure out-and-back, nothing extra needed.
I didn’t run it particularly well, despite the decent warm up and no time to hang around and cool down. The undulations were just a little too much for me, and overall it’s a course that would probably turn out much better at the second attempt. Equally, not carrying a bulky jumper would help.
But I was happy to have made it and to get the full run experience, not a lonely, guilty chase. Not an entirely recommended method, because you miss out on the briefing and socialising, and are dependent on the bus being bang on time at worst, but it is just possible by public transport. The website says there are no toilets, but either it is out of date, or those 400m down the road (away from the start direction) are not open at 8. They were at 9.00, though, so I think they are new – the fields behind the start look to be a development site.