Run Report July 3 2021 Event #236


Having moved to New Zealand a year ago, and slowly starting to travel around exploring the country, I made sure to bring my family to Rotorua on a Saturday so I could participate in parkrun. Puarenga was my 10th NZ course and certainly didn’t disappoint! What a unique course. I’m not sure that there is any other parkrun in the world where you run through sulphur and geothermal areas. I’m thrilled to report, that whilst all events have their own distinct flavour, the one thing each event has
in common is the friendly feel as we all run, walk or jog the 5km distance.

The Winter weather was cold! I underestimated how cold it would be and completed the whole 5kms in my jacket. I also know if I’m ever fortunate enough to be back that I need to allow time to get the frost off the car! Something I’ve not had to worry about before.

Today Run Director Megan gave her briefing and then set us off on our way. Today 66 people attended. Congratulations to Adrian Lysaght the first finisher today in the speedy time of 18:50. First female over the line was Anna Hickey in a time of 21:09. Fantastic effort in her first Puarenga parkrun and on the day she achieved her 50 th parkrun and earned herself a red T-shirt.

Of the 66 runners today, 4 participants recordered a personal best time. Congratulations Anne Jaquiery, Kaycie Oconnor, Debra Lynch and Elaine Marshall . Well done ladies.

Puarenga parkrun welcomed 3 people completing their first ever parkrun, Mark Harman, Callum Starling and Isabelle Breetvelt. Welcome to parkrun! Be warned it’s addictive!
3 people in total completed the course for the first time including Tony Collins, Shay Gardiner and Anna Hickey. Visitors today came from Auckland, Dunedin and Taupo.

Milestones this week, congratulations Anna Hickey on 50 runs and Eli Hoffman achieved Junior 10 runs.

A very big thank you to our fabulous Hi-Vis Hereos our volunteers this week. Led by Run Director Megan Dwyer. Volunteers were Jared Mclean, Sophia Choi, Apii Viti, Justine Esposito, Russell Clarke, Shay Gardiner, Jack Mclean, Sarah Jane Caudwell, Alan Cobby, Jessica Lamb, Tiwana Rarere and Steve Webb. parkrun wouldn’t happen each and every week without our volunteers so please give them a wave and say thanks as you encounter volunteers and consider volunteering yourself from
time to time. All of the volunteering roles are easy to learn and a great way to meet other parkrunners. If you would like to register to volunteer please email

In the 236 events at Puarenga, 3929 participants have completed 16,518 parkruns.

Thanks for having me Puarenga! Such a memorable event. Wishing you all a great week!

Shay Gardiner  A875135



Run Report June 26 2021 Event #235

Five years ago 128 people gathered at the back of MIGS gym on a cold and misty morning.

Puarenga parkrun #1

Puarenga parkrun #1

Of those we had visitors from Lower Hutt, Hamilton, Auckland and Hawkes Bay, but there were many who had never before scanned a barcode.

At event 235 we celebrated our fifth birthday and it was heartening to see so many people who have made Puarenga parkrun such a part of their lives.

The theme today was first day of school.

The theme today was first day of school.

Of the finishers today there were 11 Puarenga regulars who have run more than 100 parkruns and 14 who are between 50 and 100.

There were many who could achieve their 50 milestone before the end of the year – if this is you we’d love to see that happen!

There were nine parkrunners who ran at both the first parkrun and at the fifth birthday: Brent Donoghue (85 parkruns), Shayne Hossack (39), Andrea Gallaher (55), Chris Browne (39), Elissa Smith (182), Kerris Browne (35), Vicki Wheeler (33), Rachel Browne (127) and Nina London-Rose (9).

Volunteering at the first run and present at the birthday run were myself, Alison King (176) and Jason Chapman (135). We both volunteered and ran today.

On to today’s run. It was a milder morning than of late and the forecast rain held off as 90 parkrunners ran or walked the 5km.

Russell and Megan Clarke with the cake they baked and decorated.

Russell and Megan Clarke with the cake they baked and decorated.

Nigel Cross brought the field home in 19:03, while Emma O’Connor was first female in 21:19.

Twelve parkrunners recorded personal bests, well done to the aforementioned Emma O’Connor, Benjamin Symes, Garrett Hoffman, Ingrid Altena, Jared Mclean, Justine Esposito, Kat Fleming, Mia Ashmore, Pieter Brederhann, Rachel Percival, Ross Simpson and Sarah Jane Caudwell.

We had no first timers today, maybe you could bring a friend along another time?

We welcomed four parkrunners visiting Puarenga for the first time.

Welcome to Rotorua to Barbara Bayly, Rhys Webster, Andrew Good and Hayley Good.

Congratulations to Kirsty Petersen, who ran her 150th parkrun. While not an official milestone it’s still a great achievement. Alan Ryan achieved his 25th volunteer milestone.

We couldn’t do parkrun without the volunteers, so a big hand goes to: Jason Chapman, Sophia Choi, Alan Cobby, Megan Dwyer, Robbie Hammond, Alison King, Jessica Lamb, Kaitlyn Lamb, Morgan MacCormick, Wendy Mason, Matt Parsonage, Alan Ryan, Phill Spear, Apii Viti and Rach Wright.

June 26 2021 2

Marshal Apii Viti sang to parkrunners.

There is a milestone shirt for those who have volunteered on 25 occasions, from September 1 there will be shirts to match the running milestones.

Volunteers don’t do it for the shirts, if you’ve not yet volunteered give it a go.

You can download the Virtual Volunteer app and have a play at home so you can confidently give it a go in the field.

If you can volunteer in future weeks we would love to hear from you, email with the date you would like to volunteer, the role (take a look at our future roster to see what's available), plus your name and barcode number.

On July 10 we are having a tamariki takeover, so if you have a junior parkrunner who can volunteer, please get in touch.

Have a great week,

Alison King A2147564


Run Report: June 12 Event 233


My wife and I normally work offshore, but, like almost everyone, our lives have been changed over the last 12 months.

When one door closes, another one opens, and though we don’t have a parkrun close to our home on the Coromandel Peninsula, we’ve taken the opportunity to explore New Zealand, parkrunning almost every Saturday.

Our last visit to Puarenga was back in October, and I wrote the run report that day too.

Alison, the Event Director, noted after my scribblings then, that run reports were something she would be keen to see more of, so, when we had a firm date for another visit, I was keen to read what literary masterpieces this had inspired and turned to the news section on the website to find out.

The most recent entry was just last month, informing would be participants that the planting day in the Sanatorium Reserve (where the parkrun is held) had been cancelled.

The entry before that was to say that Puarenga would be holding a Christmas Day event last December, and the one before that, my run report from my last visit!

Therefore, I decided to offer my limited talents again.

The reserve was gifted to the people of Rotorua in 1880 by Ngati Whakaue and the aforementioned planting day was part of a much grander project to restore the natural wonders of this nationally significant geothermal area.

The vision of this work is that, "the ecological integrity of Sanatorium Reserve and the Sulphur Point is restored so that it can be enjoyed by visitors using a high quality, low impact network of tracks and other facilities."

Perfect fit with parkrun. There is much evidence of the clearing of non-native vegetation in the reserve visible from our course, and of its replacement with things which may have originally been present.

One can only imagine how the course may look in a few years’ time. 

It is already scenically very beautiful. In fact, I would go as far as to say that to my mind it’s the nicest course in the country in that respect (if you discount the start/finish area!).

There are many attractive courses around NZ; some following lake shores with grandiose mountain backdrops, others hugging the coast or riverbanks, some crossing spectacular architectural features, but nothing quite like the combination of bush, lake and geothermal activity one finds here.

Steam rises from under the feet of all participants, not just the front-runners! Best of all, being a two lap course, you get to enjoy everything twice. 

There’s also a nice range of birds to enjoy and this morning I noted all three species of gull that call NZ home (Black-backed, Black-billed and Red-billed). There were also Pied Stilts and Spur-winged Plovers feeding on salt flats in the lake with Fantails, Grey Warblers, Dunnocks and Blackbirds calling in the bush.

A 2019 NZ Herald article tells us that Long-tailed Bats also inhabit the area. You’d be very unlikely to see one of those during a parkrun of course, but great to know they’re there. 

For mid-June, the weather was amazingly mild this morning.

On my first visit here three years ago (albeit in August) ice hung from the bushes. Today my phone told me it was 9˚C, and it felt it.

The 233rd running of Puarenga parkrun saw 71 people out enjoying the weather and the course, and, as always, there are those who deserve special mention.

Firstly, a big welcome to the parkrun family to Lukas Joy, Paul Houghton and Andrea Dixon who all had their barcodes scanned for the very first time today.

I hope it’s the start of a long and happy association with the amazing global phenomena which is parkrun, and whether you tour the world or simply turn up regularly at Puarenga (or a bit of both) I hope it’s brings you much pleasure.

As well as the 3 mentioned above, there were two other people running at Puarenga for the first time this morning. Kat Macmillan and my good friend Richard Schofield.

Richard lives in Balclutha and this was his first ever “overseas” parkrun. Other visitors today came from Christchurch, Auckland, Napier, Lower Hutt and Tauranga, hope you enjoyed your morning as much as I enjoyed mine. 

Leading the field home was Matt Parsonage for the 2nd week running. Looking back through previous results it would appear collecting that #1 token is a regular event for him here, and whilst his 18.09 is the sort of time most of us can only dream about, it’s doubtless one he wouldn’t consider particularly fast (PB over minute quicker). Kaitlyn Lamb led the ladies home, evidently a talented youngster, running in the 15-17 age category. Well done both.

Without volunteers parkrun would simply not exist and whilst we should thank all todays’ high-vis heroes, two deserve special mention.

Russell Clarke who qualified for his V25 T-shirt today and Megan Dwyer who stepped into the Run Director role for the first time.

Joining this band of fine people couldn’t be simpler and will add a whole new dimension to your parkrun day. Just contact the team and sign up.

Full training will be provided and who knows, maybe one day you too could be wearing one of those T-shirts recognising your efforts.

Parkrunday to me isn’t complete without a visit to the café afterwards to replenish the calories burned and to discuss all things parkrun with other like-minded souls.

The Ciabatta Café and Bakery did a great job facilitating this today. I can highly recommend the “Bakers Breakfast” complete with the “Salami, Cheese and Ham Platter”, though even to someone with my healthy appetite, there’s plenty there for two!

Even after sharing, I still couldn’t find room for any of the other delicacies offered, though the Kiwifruit Tarts did look more than a bit appealing.

Thanks to all the Puarenga team for putting on a great morning and to Rotorua District Council for allowing our favourite, weekly, free, timed 5km to take place here.

Nigel Milius, Cooks Beach  


Event Cancelled

Sanotorium Reserve planting

As part of the ongoing restoration project in Sanatorium Reserve council is hosting a planting day at the reserve on Saturday 22 May.

This planting day is a follow on from the mahi we did last year with local students to pot 100 native seedlings, which are now ready to be planted in the reserve.

The morning’s activities will include a short litter clean up followed by planting and seed sowing then a BBQ lunch to finish. This will also be a great opportunity to update you all on the progress of the project now that we in year three of the five-year project timeline.

It would be great to see you there.

To confirm your attendance please RSVP to by Wednesday 19 May.

If you have any specific dietary requirements for the BBQ please let us know in your RSVP email.



Christmas Day parkrun

Christmas has come early for parkrun!

Puarenga parkrun will host a Christmas Day parkrun to spread holiday cheer.

Start time is 8am as normal. If you're available to volunteer, or you have a family member who you can bring along, please let the event team know.

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