Event #354 30th January 2021 – double run report

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The last parkrun for January 2021 dawned fine but cool in fact a little cold for some people after the hot temperatures earlier in the week.

178 keen souls lined up and completed the course helped along the way by our wonderful volunteers – 9 in total. Remember parkrun wouldn’t happen without them so do your bit and volunteer every now and then, it’s an easy task and you are really appreciated by the runners.

Some highlights and achievements looking in detail at this week’s results.

28 PB’s recorded so well done – a couple that stand out include Joel Carman – first male across the line in 19.09 and Sharyn Bungard taking 45 seconds of her previous PB.

10 first timers again and well done on completing your first parkrun and the one that stood out was Sammy Benson Pope – first female across the line in an excellent time of 21 minutes exactly.

It was also the day for people completing their 100th parkrun – 4 people in fact completed the milestone so big congratulations to Hideo Yoshihama, Henry Bluestreak, John Hogue and Lisa Caton.

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We had visitors from Invercargill and from Millwater Park Runs and I know they enjoyed the stairs of despair. Our Millwater visitor agreed that after climbing our hill that she didn’t have any right to complain ever again about the hill (more like a bump) on her course ever again.

In closing just remember while a PB or a major milestone is worth celebrating I believe parkrun is more than that. It’s about friendship and making new friends and sharing stories about how we all conquered those bleeping stairs again!!, it’s about feeling good about yourself after you have got some exercise and enjoying a coffee with your parkrun friends, as well as the joy and anticipation of doing it all again next Saturday.

Martin Jones (134 parkruns)

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I love parkrun. I love parkrun because I love to meet parkrun people. I love to visit new parkrun locations. I love staying active in some of NZs most beautiful sports. And I love to give back and contribute to parkrun.

And lucky old me continued to do just that at Dunedin’s 354th event on Saturday.

I have never considered myself a parkrun tourist. A wannabe one, sure, but in reality I very rarely manage to leave my family behind (or indeed take them with me) and experience a different event. This is why 204 of my 233 parkruns have all been at Millwater, my home event where I work with our core team to keep things ticking along. However, looking at my parkrun stats for the past month or so, I have run at four different events over seven weeks which makes me smile! And to give back I decided to write the run reports for these different events.

So here I am!

Back in October, three friends and I booked a girls’ trip to Dunedin for a friend’s 40th. Fellow parkrunners will understand my joy when I realised I would be able to tick off another event while we were there. I had been to Dunedin once before, back in 2003 on a South Island road trip, but this was before Paul Sinton-Hewitt had started the original Bushy Park Time Trial, so there were certainly no parkruns back then. I was certainly not a runner back then either!

We were staying in the city this time, just a 15 minute walk from the Botanical Gardens, so my friends and I left our motel at 7:15 and made our way there. We were excited to see the 660 house en route, and stopped for a quick photo opportunity, and then proceeded to make our way to the gardens. We were super early and the first to arrive, so had a quick chat with the set-up team, who were a very friendly bunch. We ascertained that the stats for Dunedin were very similar to Millwater, both in attendance numbers and with over 300 events to their name, though Dunedin has been going for several months longer. One of my friends is a keen runner too, though not registered with parkun (I know… we have to work on that!), and she joined me on the run, while my other friend decided to watch us go, and then take a leisurely walk around the gardens.

Now I had heard of the ‘Stairs of Despair’ but had naively thought ‘how hard can they be?” Well, I can confirm that they are hard! We made great time around the first two lower laps, in fact hitting my best average speed for a long time. And then the hill. To be honest, the hill was harder than the stairs on the hill. And they hurt. And I plodded up them as best as I could before enjoying the marvellous view of Dunedin from the top. And then I gingerly navigated my way down the hill on the loose gravel. And repeat! My friend, (who is a pilates instructor, with excellent core strength it seems) managed it far better than I, and finished a couple of minutes before me, when I collapsed over the finish line at a little over 34 minutes. I was pretty chuffed with that, considering the incline!

It was a very different parkrun experience to any I had before. And yes, it was hard, but I loved it!

Enormous congratulations to first finisher, Joel Carman, for getting around in 19:09 and achieving a PB. He must be superhuman to do the course in that time! In fact, 20 people recorded a PB this week. I notice the course record is set at 16:59 back in 2015 by Joshua Baan. Amazing!

I was among ten official first timers, congratulations to everyone for showing up and giving it a go!

Huge thanks to ED Tania, this week’s RD Nick Wooliscroft and their team of HiViz heros for putting on such a friendly, welcoming, interesting event! We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and while my legs are still aching three days later, those views at the top of the hill were well worth it!

I’m looking forward to returning ‘home’ to Millwater this week, but I promise the next time I come to Otago, I will certainly be back to try and get a PB!

Have a great week, everyone; and happy walking, jogging, running and volunteering next week!

Claire Taylor (233 parkruns)

Millwater