As an NFP – person of No Fixed Parkrun – it was great to be heading down the line on glorious hot and sunny Friday to experience a new parkrun in New Plymouth. I found an AirBnB only 10mins walk from the start – perfect. Saturday dawned and suddenly early spring was back – a chilly 8 ̊C, high grey cloud and a promise of rain. First on the scene was Erin, her Dad and her two wee boys – busy raising the Parkrun flag and setting up the start/finish. A nice flare of kiwi ingenuity with electric fence standards and hot wire tape (electric fencing) being used to form the finishing funnel.
The theme of family at this parkrun continued with trail marshal Melissa accompanied by her girls and a pink Pegasus and while Trevor was Run Director his Mum Gabrielle picked up the job of tail walker. At least one runner finished pushing two children in a double pushchair. It seemed the cooler weather might have put people off as numbers were slow to build but a last minute rush of arrivals meant a very respectable tally of 65 people for the event.
A mellow out and back course along the New Plymouth coastal walkway – the paved trail winds past Fitzroy Surf Club and through restored coastal shrubland. Tui chortled as we passed and the surf provided a steady background rumble. Whitebaiters, both human and avian (Black Shag), lined the shores of the Waiwhakaiho River as we ran/walked alongside on our approach to the iconic Te Rewa Rewa bridge. A little beyond the bridge Curtis provided a cheery wave as we turned around him to retrace our route. As you return back across the bridge on a clear day you get an eyeful of the mountain, Taranaki – so I'm told, but not today. She was shyly shrouding her flanks in cloud. As I pushed for home I came alongside Dennis, as we chatted I discovered he was off to Auckland in the afternoon to do the Auckland Marathon on Sunday – his 236th marathon and his 30th this year. Wow!
Once across the finish line I stayed to cheer the remaining folk home. As the last walker crossed the line at 8.53am the rain began to fall. So the East End team obviously have a direct line to the weather control – perfect timing. Perhaps not uncommon at a relatively new parkrun (this is only the 6th event) but great that almost a quarter of the field (15) were first timers to Parkrun.
I didn't have the time to sample the post run coffee venue The Kiosk at the Fitzroy Surf Club but I plan to be back in a month to try again for the coffee and maybe a glimpse of the Mountain. Thankyou so much to the East End Volunteers for their hard work in pulling this Parkrun together and keeping it going as a free event every Saturday (eight volunteers are needed each week to make it a go). Your warm welcome, efficient teamwork and happy smiles are much appreciated.
With thanks Wendy Hare NFP Kiwi Tourist