If you haven’t tried the fantastic Owairaka parkrun yet, then you’re really missing out on a treat. What more can you ask for – an ideal location, excellent course (the only one in the world where you can run over the Auckland motorway – using an awesome looking bridge, of course!), plenty of parking, an excellent playground including a very fast flying fox (that has had the even faster Paul Martelletti enjoy the thrill), very good coffee and food afterwards at L’Oeuf café, and most important of all are the brilliant people who put on this event and the fabulous parkrunners (and barkrunners) who make this a special parkrun to attend. Don’t believe me? Then check out this latest story that is irrefutable proof - Community, Connection And Coffee: The Secret Of Parkrun’s Success - Good Magazine
Today, 113 parkrunners took advantage of the wonderful Auckland long weekend weather to participate in event number 15 (yes, up until the new Trentham Memorial parkrun started today, Owairaka was the newest member of the parkrun NZ stable of 33 events). Being a new parkrun has meant the number of participants has been steadily growing and it was great to have 29 first-timers join us today. A huge congratulations to the twelve brand new parkrunners who experienced their very first event today. It was also great to see those joining us for the first time who were from the other fantastic parkruns in the Auckland area, plus the parkrun tourist from Whangarei parkrun (the best parkrun in Northland).
There was a total of 33 PBs set, with comments overheard afterwards at the café that “it’s a fast course” so if you’re looking to set a PB then Owairaka is the place to do it. 11 different clubs were represented (amongst these being the indomitable Steve Darby hailing from the Airedale Dodgers). By the way, if you belong to a club (and that club is on the parkrun list) then make sure to register this in your personal parkrun details, so it shows in the results every time you participate. A fun new feature, just announced is that you can now add more than one club to your parkrun profile! Of course, it’s always important to bring along your barcode otherwise you risk being named as one of the 12 “unknowns” who put in the effort today but don’t have a time registered against their actual names. Some of these may just have decided to turn up on the morning and give parkrun a go, so we certainly hope they take advantage of the free, one time only, registration process, print their barcode and we’ll see their full names in the results next time.
In terms of results, it’s important to mention the awesome time set by Ann Yates-Rose who was doing her first parkrun today and finished in 54.05. Whilst it’s good to recognise the fast flyers, we know that nobody finishes last at parkrun and the most important thing is to participate, do your best whether that’s by walking, jogging or running and (more importantly) have fun. The tailwalker volunteer is the reason why nobody finishes last and a special mention of today’s volunteer, Yasmin Lakeman, who is a regular volunteer and today participated for the first time as a parkrunner. At the other end of the results was Nick Moore who finished first in a cracking time of 16.26 despite carrying an injured thumb (perhaps suffered whilst hitchhiking?) and not far behind was the first junior parkrunner, William Johnston setting a new PB of 16.33. What a difference 10 seconds makes as that was the distance between William and Tomas Barry who was 3rd over the line and 2nd in the junior category in 16.43, and a new PB for him a well. A big congrats to Julia Averill who was today’s first female in 20.42, which was a new PB for Julia who was also participating in only her second parkrun event.
Another thing I’ve noticed about this parkrun is the high number of families participating and there were no less than 19 parkrunners today in the junior category (male and female combined). parkrun is all about inclusivity, safety and diversity so it’s awesome that this is being manifested at Owairaka parkrun, as it is across all of the New Zealand Aotearoa parkruns. Plus, there also has to be a special mention of the barkrunners who brought their human servants along to parkrun. There’s a noticeably high number of these at Owairaka, they’re all very well-behaved (the humans I mean) and ably led by the legendary Fudge who selfishly lets James Doherty slow him down on the course.
Finally (phew), a special shout-out to all the fantastic #scottairplanes that I saw out on the course today including the superb volunteer’s group Scottairplanes back at the finish line. These are all about having fun, you can’t do them without smiling and sometimes they even make you go faster! By the way, while we talk about the volunteers a special mention to the best volunteer team at Owairaka today under the leadership of Bridget Lawrence and included Simon Aspden, Rosemary Bygrove, Stephen Campbell, Julie Collard, Anahera Higgins, Yasmin Lakeman, James McLennan, Daniel Organ, Declan Organ, Jennie Parker, Sarah Yallop and Scott (airplanes) Arrol. Holding a parkrun event is only possible because of the volunteers and we rely on all parkrunners to take turns to spread the load so please make sure to put your name down whenever you’re able.
Finally (yes, I know I said this before), but there was a big announcement today that the event on the 20th of February is going to be a special parkrun KIDS TAKEOVER event. This means junior parkrunners will be the volunteer team for this event – all the high vis heroes will be under 18 years of age, so this is a great opportunity for them to give volunteering a try and a very good reason for the rest of us to turn up to support them. Until next time – have fun, practise your #scottairplanes and keep smiling!