There’s two parts to this parkrun report:
- Leap day parkrun
- Xterra Festival
Leaping lizards - a rundown of #353 parkrun at Bothamley Park
We woke to ho-hum weather. It was overcast, warm and a sort of precipitation that couldn’t really be classified as drizzle. Mike and I were pleased to have two of our kids along with us. We gave them an option of parkrun or orienteering on Sunday. They chose early wake up, parkrun and McDonalds over a sleep in, orienteering and the possibility of getting lost. Interesting findings.
Janet welcomed us to leap day parkrun and congratulated the milestone people. Janet explained her brother is celebrating his 15th birthday today. It’s interesting to note it’s a 1 in 1,461 chance of being born on a leap day.
Janet handed the mega phone over to Andrew. He told us we had the option of doing a leap on the way home. There’s some epic photos on the Porirua parkrun Facebook group. Bruce MORTIMER, you’re a leaping legend.
We get underway
Those that had watches set them and we were off. Smiles, greetings and hi fives along the course. When I turned at the top, the drizzle became rain for a brief period. I think I can now say I’m an all weather runner haha. An extra huge thanks to the volunteers for standing in the rain fulfilling their roles dutifully. Much appreciated.
Antics at McDonalds
George is a paper plane enthusiast and test piloted his origami aerodynamic creations. After his plane crashed and burned a couple of times, he made some adjustments. One nice and steady flight, Joe caught the plane by it’s fuselage to save it crashing into Helen’s temple! What quick reactions Joe.
Xterra Festival - Saturday 1 February 2020
One parkrun day not so long ago, about a dozen of us drove right past the turnoff to Porirua parkrun and just kept going. Why you might ask? Why would we want to pass up the opportunity to hang out with the rest of the smiley parkrunners?
It’s because Stuart Daniel mentioned in passing (intentionally planting the seed) that Xterra for the first time were bringing their Festival to the Wellington region. Wouldn’t it be nice to go for a run up the coast?
And like the sheep we are, we found we’d entered the Xterra Festival at QEII Park, Paekakariki. There were several events we could choose from: a triathlon, mountain biking only and running only; all at differing distances. Being runners, we entered as individuals doing either the short (6 km), the medium (14 km), and the long (21 km).
The weather was out of sorts, so much so that we couldn't see Kapiti Island on the drive up. I would describe it as Lord of Rings weather; dank, muggy and grey.
Mike and I bumped into the rest of the Run Grumpy Finish Happy team. A few of us train together during the week to keep our fitness up and we notice how much happier we are at the end than from when we started.
I felt a group pic coming on.
This is most of us. Pictured L to R: Peter McF, Arwell, Mike, Katie (in front) Suzanne, Stuart with bunny ears, Helen, and Tineke.
Those absent from the group photo but also Porirua parkrunners are: Rachel, Jacqui, Nick, Joe and Kath.
Waiting to start, Nick and Joe.
A warm up for me - a light jog to the tram, which transported me to the start of my course.
The trusty tram
I made new a new friend at the start line waiting for the briefing. Ashley said “I’ll be walking it.” I visualised a Tui billboard and thought "yeah right!” A quick briefing instructing us to follow the colour coded arrows, help your fellow runners if they need it, and give the Marshalls a hug, perhaps a kiss or hi five!
The sun came out blazing. Just like that, the drone was buzzing and the starter horn went off and we were on our way. Like always I got caught up with being in a crowd and started out a little too fast. After a while we spread out along an invisible bendy string and got into a rhythm.
The terrain of the courses
- Short: mostly on a track and some steep dunes
- Medium: mostly on tracks, in the hills and bush of Whareroa Farm and down to the gruelling dunes.
- Long: funnily enough a longer version of the medium event.
Up the steps, down the steps and around the corner.
As I was slogging up a steep hillock, I spotted the event photographer at the top. I slapped on a smile. It must have been obvious that I was finding it tough going, as he apologised for picking his vantage point while snapping away. Phew, I’d made it. No time to stop. No energy or spare air to say “it’s all good”. Onto the next section.
The finish line
Close to home, I was passed by several medium and even a few long course runners. They were light and agile on their feet. They made it look effortless and were said encouraging things like "good work” or “nice job.” Xterra really is a feel good community just like parkrun except there are more and longer slightly uphill flat bits.
I was surprised the finish line turned up so soon as I felt like I was destined surely to do more and more arduous dunes.
I willed my tired legs to go a bit faster; to sprint down the chute and over the finish line. It felt like I was in slo-mo. Surprise surprise my new friend Ashley was there to cheer me in. I knew it, she hadn’t walked at all and finished two ahead of me.
My eyes widen at the sight of someone coming towards me with some bling. I bow my head and accept my shiny new medal. Mentally, I pat myself on the back and am thrilled to be adding it to my ever expanding collection of running medals - totalling two to date!
Of our parkrun pod, Jacqui came home first. Well done! It turned out I must have been pretty speedy too, as I was chuffed to be second. Together, we welcomed home the slower runners. Whoopsie, what I meant to say was, we welcomed in the others who did the longer distances. We lined up like a guard of honour and high-fived the rest of our mates home. It felt good to have done it and be home. We debriefed enthusiastically over electrolytes, jet planes, and gels.
The highlights were finishing - stepping over that line, being presented with a medal, the refreshing flash ice-blocks (flavours such as blackcurrant and mint, raspberry, melon and lime), the coffee and sharing in the same experience with friends.
Job well done, on the tram back to the cars.
Arwell coming in
Kath in her happy place: an iceblock and medal
I surveyed my fellow parkrunners who did the Xterra Festival. I got ten responses and these are some of the results:
Half of the respondees did the long distance. 30% did the medium and 20% did the short.
Reasons why we ran the event:
- Got it free as we entered the whole Xterra series
- For the challenge of a new run and fear of missing out (FOMO)
- Xterra events normally have a good atmosphere
- Wanted to see if I could do it
- Started with parkrun and this is where it leads.
How satisfied were you with the event:
- 80% gave it a 5/5
- 20% gave it 4/5.
The things we liked about the event were (you could tick as many as you liked)
- The run itself
- The park (QEII park plus Whareroa Farm)
- The Marshalls
- The medal
- The ice blocks
- The people
- The tram ride
- The weather
- The company in the car
- Off site registration
The things we didn’t like so much about the event were (you could tick as many as you liked)
- The run
- The weather
- The bathroom facilities
- The drive
- Stuart’s jokes
- No coffee cart at the start.
What do you say to others thinking about doing a trail run event and haven’t yet clicked that Register Now button?
- Do it
- Do it and you can say you’ve had a new adventure plus a new personal achievement
- Step away from the button - it’s not too late. You’ll only end up having to join some runners anonymous group. You’ve been warned. haha.
- Do it but train for it.
- It’s always more fun running with a group, especially if friends are attending to push themselves in support of you.
- Register Now!
The next event in the Wellington Xterra series is on Sunday 22 March 2020 at West Wind. You too can enjoy the benefits of running or walking an Xterra event.
I’ll leave you with this
Did you know, the next time a Leap Day lands on a parkrun day will be Saturday 29 February 2048? Ponder that.
Ramblings by Kath O’Connor
First Age Grade Finishers
1 Pam GRAHAM Female VW70-74 Wellington Scottish Athletics Club Inc 28:05 (82nd overall)
2 Juan KOEKEMOER Male VM40-44 Irene Road RC 18:05 (1st overall)
3 Jessica HUGHES Female JW15-17 20:20 (6th overall)
First Female Finishers
1 Jessica HUGHES Female JW15-17 20:20 (6th overall)
2 Sarah BAKKER Female VW45-49 23:05 (25th overall)
3 Olivia FOUNTAIN Female SW30-34 23:57 (33rd overall)
First Male Finishers
1 Juan KOEKEMOER Male VM40-44 Irene Road RC 18:05 (1st overall)
2 Elliot CREE Male VM40-44 18:09 (2nd overall)
3 Steve LATHAM Male VM35-39 London Heathside 18:25 (3rd overall)
This week 175 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 17 were first timers and 18 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 18 different clubs took part.
The event was made possible by 10 volunteers:
Andrew GRAY • Brenda GRAY • Amanda MACDONALD • Sue CUTHBERTSON • Rosanna LONG • Benjamin POWLEY • Janet WEBSTER • Elizabeth DAINTY • Kath O'CONNOR • Susan CHISNALL
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 4,370 participants have completed 38,716 parkruns covering a total distance of 193,580 km, including 6,120 new Personal Bests. A total of 533 individuals have volunteered 3,907 times.