Porirua parkrun event 406 - 7 August 2021
I’ve been doing a bit of volunteering and wanted to share what I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to. This week’s run report contains two sections:
- The rundown from Saturday
- WUU2K 2021
The rundown from Saturday
Fine and northerlies that’s what the forecast was. They were spot on. It was pleasant as I arrived with my husband Mike to set up for parkrun. I’m on one of the core volunteer teams that set up and pack down the kit each week.
Winning, I now know how to assemble the flags and put out the standards and rope for the finish chute. The rest of the volunteers and runners arrived smiling pleased Saturday had rolled around again. Before long, Paul JAKOBS, our run director, called for the first timers briefing. I welcomed Sean ARNOLD, a first timer and gave him the spiel.
Pictured above are Kath O'Connor and Sean Arnold
Congratulations to our milestoners of Suzanne and George. Suzanne RIDDLE completed her 100th, and George Van MEEUWEN completed his 300th. Yes, you read right, three hundred parkruns!
Pictured above are Astrid and George
The dogs were barking with excitement, I set my watch and looked up. The front runners were off and so were the rest of us to navigate the start and find our rhythm. Soon enough, I was thinking of coffee and cheekily overtook a couple of people with 30 metres to the finish chute. They’ll get me next week, I’m sure.
WUU2K (pronounced ‘Woo-Too-Kay’)
One Saturday last month, I spent four happy hours soaked to the bone. I had jogged on the spot, cheered, clapped, and shouted words of encouragement to passing runners. In amongst that I was overseeing an aid station; ensuring we provided runners with food and fluids.
Two months prior, some of my parkrun buddies (the ones who spend more time talking about running than running itself) had signed up for the Wellington Urban Ultramarathon (WUU2K). It’s a tough course, an endurance trail running event in the steep hills of Wellington ending at Mt Victoria.
Cast your mind back to last month when we had that weather bomb. There was surface flooding and landslides causing road and lane closures. Funnily enough, that coincided with WUU2K. Even Porirua parkrun was cancelled that Saturday due to the weather. Easy decision because there was a tree blocking our path.
I was slightly surprised that WUU2K was not cancelled. It went ahead with all runners diverted to the short course which meant no one would be anywhere near the Skyline track and not at risk of being blown over and off the tops. To explain, the 62 km, 43 km, and 21 km runners all did the 21 km course which started at the Owhiro Bay tourist centre.
In heavy rain on the morning of WUU2K, Mike and I drove to our aid station location, stomped through a waterlogged car park, unloaded our kit, and erected the gazebo to form our shelter. Up went some tarps on two sides of our gazebo. My competent volunteers laid out the snacks and drink (water, tailwind, and flattish coke). Our theme was Pasifika / Island Styles. We had on our grass skirts, leis, and flowery shirts. We even had some music blaring to add to the party atmosphere. I stationed volunteers before the aid station to direct runners in as the course wasn’t obvious in the horizontal rain.
Pictured above are Kath and Mike with fellow volunteers ready to welcome the WUU2K runners.
Super exciting to see the front runners darting past. The runners that followed came thick and fast. As I cheered on people, they would either thank me, give a high five, or tell me I was a total legend for volunteering.
We had a delightful Island Bay resident bring us hot mugs of tea and coffee. This elderly gentleman was balancing eight or so cups sliding around on a tray as he negotiated the gusts of rain. He was the legend – the guy looking after us, so we could look after the runners.
Amazingly, I spotted my mates from the other drowned rats running past. Most of my friends seemed to be as happy as pigs in mud. Practically, grinning from ear to ear. I was thrilled for every one of them. They were achieving the goal they had set themselves. Their training came down to these few hours.
During the morning, through our communication channels and from the runners, we heard the creek crossings were hairy and rising fast to eventually impassable. The last wave of runners were turned back and had to take a detour.
Before we knew it the Tail End Charlies (aka tail runners) had arrived. They offloaded their trail markers. We swapped news. They were happy and on a natural high, encouraging and supporting the last runner. We fed them up with loads of baking and sent them on their final few kilometres to the finish.
We packed up at record speed. The drive back home on the motorway was the scariest. Almost no to nil visibility nearing 60 kms/hr. Sleet was hitting the window-shield at a great rate.
My volunteering journey continues. I have gladly said I will be one of a support crew for two of my friends who will be trainlrunning at Tarawera Ultramarathon 2022. I’m now wondering what the major differences are between the WUU2K to the miler at Tarawera. That’s 160 km of running through the night. Quite a lot of difference I’m guessing.
If you have any advice for me on being a support crew for long distance runners, please make yourself known to me, as I’d like to hear your list of dos and don’ts.
The title of this run report is a quote from Todd Stocker. I agree with him. Being of service to others, giving back to your community is fulfilling. It’s a feel-good factor. The science behind volunteering is good for our well-being. Some surveys report those that volunteer regularly have better health outcomes. The volunteer participants have lower blood pressure over their non-volunteering counterparts. This means those who volunteer over the years will be at a lower risk of heart disease.
Now you know the secret sauce to life is giving. Go on, put your name down to volunteer at parkrun. And then you may have an even saucier life as you never know where it will lead to.
Pictured above are Mike and Kath
Written by Kath O'CONNOR
Age Grade First Finishers
1 Greta ABBOTT 21:01 JW11-14 77.48%
2 Cameron STARR 20:27 JM10 77.18% New PB!
3 Theo BRAY 18:48 JM11-14 77.13% New PB!
First Three Women Finishers
1 Ana SIDWELL 20:06 SW18-19 74.46%
2 Greta ABBOTT 21:01 JW11-14 77.48%
3 Daniella STARR 23:53 JW11-14 68.18%
First Three Men Finishers
1 Theo BRAY 18:48 JM11-14 77.13% New PB!
2 Darcy MELLSOP 19:36 VM45-49 74.06%
3 John ZHANG 20:00 JM15-17 68.50%
This week 140 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 3 were first timers and 13 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 11 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 14 volunteers:
Tony GORMLEY • Paul JAKOBS • Olivia FOUNTAIN • Maria WHITEHEAD • Randall PAVELICH • David BLOCKSIDGE • Julie SWINDEN • Saul BUTLER • Mike O'CONNOR • Kath O'CONNOR • Felicity HOLDEN • Riley HOLDEN • Glenn HODGSON • Kirsty HOSIE
Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Porirua parkrun Results Page.
The male record is held by Paul MARTELLETTI who recorded a time of 15:47 on 9th May 2015 (event number 98).
The female record is held by Hannah OLDROYD who recorded a time of 18:09 on 27th May 2017 (event number 204).
The Age Grade course record is held by Pam GRAHAM who recorded 92.75% (22:32) on 3rd January 2015 (event number 81).
Porirua parkrun started on 6th July 2013. Since then 4,980 participants have completed 47,335 parkruns covering a total distance of 236,675 km, including 7,118 new Personal Bests. A total of 608 individuals have volunteered 4,632 times.