Greytown, despite the somewhat uninspiring name, is a rather attractive little place. Indeed, in 2017 it was awarded the title of “New Zealand's Most Beautiful Small Town”, and toward the end of the following year, on 3rd November 2018, it got even better when parkrun started.
The railway branch line linking the town to the main line to Wellington operated between
1880 and 1953 and it is along the course of (part) of this that we have our parkrun. The first 2.5km of the railway from the town to Woodside Road opened, after much volunteer effort, as a walk/cycle trail in November 2011, the second stage, from there to Woodside Station in February 2013, and it is along the latter that our route lies. The full trail, at 5km, would make an ideal parkrun, though there would be logistical issues with a linear route leaving the start and finish 5km from each other! Therefore it sensibly takes an out and back from Woodside Station, first running toward town, then back.
Being along an old railway, it not that surprising it’s almost flat, though apparently the first half is downhill which may account for why it took me a minute longer on the return leg. It cuts through mainly agricultural land, though the verdant green fields one might expect were today showing a variety of yellows and browns, evidence of the long and dry summer that the whole North Island has been experiencing. A few cows grazed as best they could, whilst Magpies, House Sparrows and Spur-winged Plovers foraged among the dry grasses.
The fine gravel provided a good surface for running and marker posts pointed out each km and the turnaround point, the latter also marked by a red stripe across the track. The scenery was attractive enough on the outward leg, but on turning for home the views went up to another level with the magnificent Tararua Ranges now ahead. Looked much greener up there and we could even see rain, though a regular told me that had been quite common over the last few months without it ever reaching the plains. Today was nice for running, though I imagine it can get a little windy at times due to the open nature of the area.
This was Greytown's 70th parkrun, and was celebrated by another round number with 50 runners and walkers lining up on the start line today, many sporting brightly coloured tutus to celebrate the date – 22. Whilst on the subject of the number 50, congratulations to Di Chesmar and Michael Edwards who both reached the 50 parkrun landmark today, well done both of you.
Shout outs too for Trace Higgins, Kelly Warner, Mary Williams, Barbara Williams, Becky
Johnson and Andreas Dahlinger who were all taking part in their very first parkrun today, welcome to the family and may you get as much enjoyment from parkrun as I and many others do on a regular basis. The last mentioned was visiting from Germany (good news Andreas, they have them there too!) and there were other visitors from Brisbane Australia, Cornwall England, and various parts of the North Island, which probably account for most of the other 5 taking part here for the first time.
Amongst the regulars, Conor Turton led the field home, a speedy teenager indeed,
seemingly going as fast as the trains that once made their way along this route several decades before he was even thought of! Well done to him and to the 6 people who ran new PB’s.
As always though, the biggest thankyou goes to Run Director Di Bailey and her team of volunteers. Her run brief this morning included an all too familiar plea for helpers. If you volunteered just 4 or 5 times a year it would make a huge difference, and what’s not to like about it? You can get free training in a variety of roles, all of which are transferable to almost 2000 venues worldwide, after just 25 times you qualify for free T-shirt (which is in a much nicer colour than any of those given out for simply completing a certain number of runs), the pay goes up 25% every time you volunteer, and most importantly, you can feel even more part of “the team”, not feel guilty every week when the plea goes out, and know that you’re doing your bit to keep parkrun “free, for everyone, for ever”.
Greytown Woodside Trail is a super friendly event, and quite a large proportion of
participants head back to town to “The Offering” for breakfast and/or coffee afterwards. It’s a tradition of parkrun to meet for a coffee after the run, though it’s quite unusual for the chosen café to be 5km from the start/finish. However, it’s well worth it! In just one visit you can’t try everything on the menu (though I made a good attempt!) and my plate provided a hearty meal of eggs, toast, mushroom, kumara rosti, tomatoes and sausage that was delicious. You also get 10% off on a Saturday morning on production of your barcode, another reason not to forget it!
Thanks to all at Greytown Woodside Trail parkrun for a most enjoyable morning.