One of the things I love about parkrun is that it's as casual or serious as you make it. You can show up and jog it once a year, or you can race it every single weekend. You can include parkrun in your travels and visit a new course when you're in town, or you can plan your travels around parkrun. You can even choose to run all the parkrun courses in the lower North Island in one day, which is what I did last Sunday.
The event is organised by one of the regulars at Lower Hutt parkrun, and most of the 30 odd runners were from the Hutt, although a few were from further afield including Anderson (Napier) and Puarenga (Rotorua) parkruns. I have done this once before, two years ago. (Last year the trip was cancelled because we were in lockdown.) Two years ago there were only 5 parkruns in the lower North Island; with the recent opening of Trentham Memorial Parkrun, we had to include that as well, so 25km became 30km. We all chipped in and hired a bus for the day to transport us between parkruns, because what could be better than a bus full of like-minded sweaty runners?
The day began with a drive to Lower Hutt, leaving Kapiti at six so we could say hi to our old friends and hit the start line at seven. We trotted round the course on fresh legs, blissfully unaware of the pain and stiffness that would follow later in the day. This parkrun is an out and back along the Hutt River, a flat fast course mostly on concrete paths.
With the first run out of the way, we piled onto the bus and headed to Porirua, and received our goodie bags, which consisted of jet planes, bliss balls and muesli bars. Porirua is easily my favourite course, it starts with a gentle climb through tree-lined paths on the way up, and a speedy zoom down on the way back. Due to the climb, you're unlikely to get a PB on this course, but the scenery is worth it - there's just something I love about running through trees and bush.
Back on the bus with a quick stop at Plimmerton for a coffee, where the folks at Palmers served 30 odd runners in record time, then off to Kapiti Coast parkrun. Feeling the home turf advantage, I shot off and completed my fastest run of the day, showing the Lower Hutt folk how it's done on the Coast.
We opted not to stop at a cafe for lunch this time, as last time it caused us to be badly behind schedule and we ended up running Greytown Woodside Trail in the dark, so we picnicked in the Domain instead. A gang of three ducks stole my scone; fortunately the other runners had over-catered and came to my aid with carrot cake, watermelon and sushi. Then a quick wardrobe change before getting back on the bus and heading to Palmerston North.
Palmerston North parkrun is another out-and-back riverside track, this time alongside the Manawatu River, and like Lower Hutt, this one is run on concrete paths so there are no mud puddles to negotiate. When we got back to the bus, we found our bus driver had fallen down the bus steps and hit his head. He bravely carried on anyway, swapping with another driver when we reached the Wairarapa.
Our new driver delivered us to the Carterton public facilities, a highlight of the trip. Everyone piled off the bus - the queues were too long at Palmerston North so hardly anyone bothered to go there. Then onwards to Greytown. I was leading the pack for the first 2km, when all of a sudden the course turned onto the road. Wait, am I going the right way? Where are the marshalls? I don't remember this - but last time it was pitch dark so of course I don't remember. Thankfully the runner behind me caught up and pointed out the cone markers that were right in front of my face. If anyone's going to get lost, it will be me.
Our new driver entertained us over the Remutakas with his rendition of King of the Road (which involved gleefully tooting the horn), and a Princess Diana joke that I won't repeat. Last stop was the brand new Trentham Memorial parkrun, which like all the others is an out-and-back, but on this one you do a little loop through the trees on the way back. The quad and calf pain had well and truly started at this stage and I struggled to get through, but I finished without stopping.
While we were running Trentham, our second bus driver managed to also fall down the steps of the bus. Curious that out of approximately 30 runners running 30k each, the only injured parties were our bus drivers. Luckily, our second bus driver wasn't badly hurt and dropped us off to the carpark at Lower Hutt parkrun at about 8pm, where we said goodbye to our friends and drove back to Kapiti in the dark.
Thinking of joining us next time? Here are my tips:
- Bring a hydration bladder if you have one, it holds more and takes up less space in your bag than drink bottles.
- Bring AT LEAST one change of gear; trust me, you don't want to do six 5ks in the same pair of undies.
- Bring something to do on the bus (I'm reading Feet in the Clouds by Richard Askwith, highly recommended for trail runners and other crazies).
- You'll get used to the smell.
- Pace yourself! My first run was my slowest of the day. Resist the temptation to do your normal parkrun speed.
- Six 5ks is harder on your body than running 30k straight. Especially with an hour or more of sitting down between each run. Make sure you warm up/cool down appropriately for EVERY run.
- Train! You can't expect to run six 5ks in a row if all you've ever done is 5ks. If you are comfortable doing a 20k run then you should be fine.
- Use the toilet whenever you get a chance, you don't know how far away the next one is going to be!
- Take a headlamp, antiperspirant, sunscreen, rain gear, warm clothes, snacks, and expect delays.
- Maybe take a spare bus driver or two as well...
This week 98 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 9 were first timers and 10 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 6 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 12 volunteers:
Jeff STARK • John GLYNN-BEGBIE • Stella MURPHY • Bruce ALLEN • Ariki VERTONGEN • Adam LAWLOR • Kristina CAMERON • René GREYLING • Annabel LOGAN • Brian NELSON • Carolyn MARSHALL • Cath BRADDOCK
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Kapiti Coast parkrun Results Page.
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 18:19 on 17th February 2018 (event number 157).
The male record is held by Paul MARTELLETTI who recorded a time of 15:30 on 1st January 2020 (event number 257).
The Age Grade course record is held by Paul MARTELLETTI who recorded 88.06% (15:30) on 1st January 2020 (event number 257).
Kapiti Coast parkrun started on 24th January 2015. Since then 2,636 participants have completed 23,753 parkruns covering a total distance of 118,765 km, including 3,604 new Personal Bests. A total of 356 individuals have volunteered 2,990 times.