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)


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)




Run report 21 November 2020

I am a Kapiti Coast park runner. Well, walker, actually. I walk park runs. Much more forgiving on my body these days.

This was my first time at the Dunedin parkrun.

It was a morning of memories. Just my second time at the Botanic Gardens since 1975. My wife, Jocelyn, also walking today, and I had our wedding photos taken in the gardens. I am not sure where they are, but I guess I could be looking at the gardens every day!

The only other time I have been in the gardens in the intervening period was for another family wedding. Clearly a popular spot to record a special day.

However, no wedding parties this morning. But 115 parkrunners out getting their weekends off to a perfect start. And it was perfect. I looked out at 6 this morning and saw a damp ground and a promising sky. Now, a few hours later as I write this, not a cloud to be seen. A typical Dunedin morning! Seven people made the most of the perfect conditions and recorded PBS. Well done!

I loved your course. Of the parkruns I have completed there a little hills, gentle rises really, at Cornwall Park, Porirua and Reigate. No real hills. After 40 years in Wellington, you come to love the hills. I loved the hills in your course. And, today, it was hills without the wind that I left behind in Wellington.

I see that the local harrier clubs give good support to parkrun. That famous club, the Caversham Harrier Club, is where my father in law spent his Saturday afternoons running in the “slow pack” as he called it, over 70 years ago.

Four other first timers participated this morning in addition to Jocelyn and I. I hope you enjoyed the course as much as we did.

If you are in the lower North Island, come and enjoy my home course. Out and back along the banks of the Waikanae River.

Thank you for hosting us this morning. I loved those hills. Did I say that already?

Graeme Fountain


Musings from the tailwalkers 14.11.20

It started quick and some were still gathering their thoughts and emerging from the toilets as the starting whistle blew. After missing the starting whistle, Carlo Bell made the bold decision to hang back for a clear path to the front.  Others began their quest at a few minutes past 0800 making the tail-walker’s job challenging as we tried to work out exactly where the back of the pack was. Not to worry, the marshal’s helped us out and we forged onwards.

As we rounded the first loop, the front pack, mostly young ‘uns, came thundering past. They were valiantly chased by the 170 other park runners who lapped us in various states of running euphoria high and low.   Lap number three and as we headed up the stairs of despair the muse overtook us and we reflected that ‘meanwhile, faraway in another part of town, Rex Askerud and a couple of friends were prowling around, number one contender for the middleweight crown, had no idea what kind of s**t was about to go down’.  And we were again lapped by the front runners.

Throughout, due to the slightly unorthodox start the tail walkers remained slightly confused, but vigilant for any last-minute stragglers, lest anyone be left behind us. With Dylan and his lyrics accompanying us on our travels we enjoyed the spring like conditions, the beautiful rhododendrons, and the babbling brook beside us.  We mused that the gardens are truly a beautiful and an ever changing vista to enjoy every week, and they are particularly beautiful at a slow and considered pace.

Finally, and as we weaved towards the final cones on the grass, Dylan and the Kinks ringing in our ears. we were met with the smiles and applause from the intrepid few who stay behind every week to welcome those at the back of the pack.  As we scanned our bar codes and enjoyed the euphoria and camaraderie that comes at the end of every parkrun, we mused: ‘Everybody’s a park runner, everybody’s a star, everybody makes parkrun, it doesn’t matter who you are’.

By Rex, Anna & Hugh


Time change 3rd October and updates


This week we take advantage of the lovely long summer daylight hours and start at 8am (with the first timers and visitor's briefing at 7:50 and the main briefing at 7:55).

Remember to scan the Ministry of Health Covid Tracer QR code - you can do it from the screen here before you head to parkrun (or over on our Facebook page) or when you are at parkrun.
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And finally thanks to all the volunteers who make parkrun happen each week. The timekeeping amd barcode scanning roles now use the Virtual Volunteer app on your phone, so make sure you have updated the app which has had a few tweaks recently. It should now look like this when you open it up.

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Here we go again

When we last saw each other who knew that parkun was about to be paused and when we would be able to be back in the Gardens to meet up, run and walk and have a coffee.

Sadly that meant that we missed one of the loveliest seasons in the Gardens, but it did mean that we got to enjoy our neighbourhoods during what was a lovely autumn.


Now thanks to the hard work of everyone, WE'RE BACK this Saturday. And as the first country up and running/walking, we have adopted parkrun Nederlands to show our support for them while they are still paused. Looking forward to seeing lots of orange, and wondering if anyone will attempt the course in clogs.

One difference is that we will be displaying the Ministry of Health’s NZ COVID Tracer QR code for people to scan - don't worry if you don't bring your phone, you can scan it here or from the Facebook page. We encourage people to do this as part of our fight against Covid and to help protect our safe haven in NZ.

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So get ready, find your barcode and fingers crossed the ice stays away and see you tomorrow.