Wanaka parkrun is an out and back. It starts in Wanaka Station park, with a loop round two of its edges, before a longer out and back section by the lake, with views over Roys Bay, Lake Wanaka. This run, at the end of March, was the last one to start at 8 before moving to 9 for the rest of Autumn and Winter.
As the picture shows, it was pretty dim even at 7.40. There had been some rain earlier, and its general threat may have kept the numbers down, but at 41 they were pretty healthy. There were plenty of locals among those numbers, but this is bound to see several tourists each week; even during ski season, some people might delay travelling up the mountain for a while.
The light gradually improved, and the fog lifted through the run, giving us different views of surrounding mountains before and after, and an atmospheric view of the lake to our right on the way out and left on the way back. The course isn’t hilly, but the lakeside path is gravelly and undulating, and the park section is grassy, so potentially slippery, with a steep descent on the way out that you then have to run back up on the way in.
All things considered, it’s not as quick as all that. Not that slow, either, but the uphill section is punishing.
It’s a glorious run, worth the journey, though maybe don’t travel all the way from Christchurch one day and all the way back the next. The journey is beautiful, with a host of lovely places to stop and see, but they’re best seen at your leisure.