EVENT #66 - 19 JANUARY 2019
Clouds mercifully covered the skies keeping temperatures down to something near perfect for running as Becks, our run director, assembled 204 people on the start line just before 8am. The obligatory housekeeping notices, the ritual, and heartfelt, welcome to first time parkrunners and visitors to Palmerston North, this week including folk from Wanaka, Auckland, Rotorua and Campbell Island (at least, that was what was claimed when the question was asked!) as well as my wife and I from the Coromandel Peninsula, was followed by the customary (and much deserved) round of applause for this weeks volunteers, a short countdown, and off.
It was a very pleasant course, following a pattern common to several New Zealand parkruns; out for 2.5km along a watercourse (in Taupo, it’s the lake, Millwater the estuary, and Lower Hutt another river to give just 3 examples) before turning around to head back the same way. Here, of course, it was the Manawatu River which was to be on our right for the first half, and, unsurprisingly therefore, the left for the return. Our line also followed along a much longer route, that of Te Araroa, the Long Pathway, which extends some 3000 km from Bluff to Cape Reinga (now that would be a challenge for anyone finding parkruns too short!). It’s a good, reasonably flat course, the path wide enough for everyone, and 100% traffic free. Soon after the start, the calls of Pied Stilt and Spur-winged Plover could be heard over the sounds of many feet and heavy breathing from my position in the middle of the field, and before I’d reached halfway, I’d also seen both Tui and Fantail fly over. We all get many and varied things from parkruns, and one of my pleasures is to note down what birds I see from the various courses.
A thing I love about out and back courses is that it gives plodders like me the chance to observe (albeit briefly!) the style and grace of those at the pointy end of the field, and Chris Sanson (from the results I assume that was your name) was well and truly “smoking it”! I was impressed, though I see it was still 15 seconds outside his PB, amazing!!! When I watch people like that, I like to tell myself that perhaps that was me in my younger days, although that particular notion wouldn’t be so much stretching the truth as taking a sledge hammer to it and smashing it to pieces!
As well as getting the chance to see true athletes, you also get the chance to see people at the other end of the results page, people for whom it’s maybe even more of a challenge, people who are equally (possibly even more?) deserving of admiration and whose stories are often truly inspiring. I always like to give a smile and a word of encouragement to those I see jogging or walking on the outward leg after I’ve made my turn, as this, to me, is what parkrun is all about, total inclusivity. We’re all there for our own reasons, but all share an experience which is now a global phenomena. We not just sharing it with a couple of hundred folk around us, but with many tens of thousands worldwide, every week. Therefore I’d also like to congratulate John and Margaret Stuart, numbers 203 and 204 on the results page, but look at their age categories, people like that are truly inspirational!
After the run I headed to the Elm Café for a well-deserved breakfast. The Lemon Curd and Pineapple Scone was delicious. I once worked out the calories burned doing a parkrun, and the proportion replaced by such foods. I wouldn’t recommend doing the maths on that one, it’s depressing! Just enjoy the run and enjoy the cakes!!!
Well done also to the 201 people who fill the places between Chris and John on the results sheet, many of whom ran PB’s. Especially well done and thankyou to Becks and her team of volunteers, it’s said every week, and should be said every week, but parkrun wouldn’t exist without them, and thankyou Palmerston North Parkrun for welcoming us.
Nigel Milius, Cooks Beach
ProKinetix Physiotherapy: We are a boutique Physiotherapy practice located in Palmerston North. We treat and manage musculo-skeletal injuries with an holistic approach. At ProKinetix we love to get you back on the road for that extra mile. ProKinetix, therapy in motion.