Queenstown parkrun – Event number 101 – 31st October 2020 – Halloween Edition

Queenstown parkrun
Event number 101 - Halloween Edition
31st October 2020

This week 74 people ran, jogged and walked the course, of whom 12 were first timers and 5 recorded new Personal Bests. Representatives of 3 different clubs took part. We had visitors from across New Zealand and the USA.


Today's run report is brought to you by visiting parkrunner, Nigel Milius!

Halloween dates back to the Celts of northern Europe around 2,000 years ago. What was to them known as Samhain marked New Years’ Eve (their year started on November 1 st ) and also signified the end of summer and the start of the long, dark and cold winter. That was a season particularly associated with death back then and Samhain was a night when, it was believed, ghosts of the dead returned to earth.

Over the centuries, different cultures put their own twist on things, the Romans had Feralia,
a day to honour the dead, and in 1000AD the Christian church decreed All Saints Day at the beginning of November. All Saints Day was also known as All Hallows Day, and the night before it All Hallows Eve, both coming from the middle English “Alholomesse”, the origin of the Halloween we know today.

The associations with death and ghosts, and dressing up in weird and wonderful costumes goes back a long way, and in recent decades it has expanded to include all things scary and frightening. Chris and his team at Queenstown parkrun have well and truly embraced the current customs, and many people had evidently had a lot of fun, and spent much time, on being suitably attired for this mornings’ Halloween parkrun. There were axemen, devils, ghosts, witches and even a skeleton parked on a bench adjacent to the finish funnel. Well done to all (runners, walkers and volunteers) who made it such fun for everyone. Admission time, I wasn’t one of them!

Though nowhere near as bad as forecast, the weather had a suitably eerie feel to it, a few
spots of rain and low cloud obscuring the stunning mountain views for which the town is justly famous. As the time keepers set their devices in motion, 74 of us set off up the first hill accompanied by several of our four-legged friends, some of whom were also getting into the spirit of things, a spider and a unicorn both being noted. Next was a downhill back toward the start, before a much gentler and shorter incline. We then passed the more formal area of the park, with rhododendrons and tulips in full bloom, and a small pond from where a Paradise Shelduck family watched on.

I have run at several different parkruns and seen a few “interesting” warning notices (one
informing people of the possibilities of encountering snakes on a course in Australia particularly springs to mind!) but today I came across one I’ve not previously encountered. “Caution. Beware of Flying Frisbee discs”! The gardens here have, apparently, been a venue for “Frisbee Golf” since the 1980’s and a decade later became home to NZ’s first permanently marked course.

Didn’t seem to be a problem today, but as we ran along part of the course on a gently descending track passing between large pines there was another hazard; a mad axeman jumped out in front me! At this point the track you are running along is close to the one you are about to follow back along the lake shore, so our spook could accost parkrunners there too. I don’t know the name of this volunteer, but he was certainly having lots of fun in the spirit of the day and probably covered considerably more than the 5km most of the rest of us did during the morning!

The lakeshore track is another delight; New Zealand Scaup, Mallards and Great Crested
Grebes swam on the water, whilst Tuis, Blackbirds and Chaffinches sang from the trees, and I even disturbed a New Zealand Pigeon high above us.

There are faster parkrun courses, but few as scenically attractive, and another great thing is you get to enjoy most of the views a second time as it’s essentially a two lap course. Even better, the only bit you don’t get to repeat is the hill at the start!

At an event that would, in more normal times, (g)host many overseas visitors, it was notable to get even one in the current situation, so welcome to the parkrunner from Michigan who joined other visitors from Auckland, my wife and I from the Coromandel Peninsula, and lots of friendly locals. Great to see so many youngsters out there enjoying there 5km too, just wish I could keep up with more of them!

The speed at which Brent Godfrey (18.10) and Jack McKay (just 14 seconds behind) led the field home was suitably scary to most of us, but well done. Congratulations also to Dahna Hunter, the first female finisher, and to Xavier Crotty, Nicole Fairweather, Sheana Solomon, Erin Prince and Jo Taylor who all set PB’s. A big welcome to the parkrun family to Sam Major, Cinnamon Williams, Isla Wallis, Connor O’Reilly, Lucy Jackson, Harper Omeara, Kiemans Makiewicz and Chris Major who all used their barcodes for the first time ever today. I hope parkrun gives you as much enjoyment as it does me and thousands of others around the world.

Even on a day like today with low cloud shrouding the mountains in mystery, Queenstown is a beautiful course and I really hope to be able to return sometime to appreciate it in its full splendour. I also need to return to enjoy more of the post run delights on offer at the Yonder Café. The Big Yonder Breakfast was absolutely delicious, but the menu was far too extensive for just one visit.

Every parkrun needs volunteers, so think about signing up for something every so often, it
adds a whole new dimension to the parkrunday experience and helps keep it free, for everyone,forever and every Saturday morning.

Thanks again to EDs Chris and Jamie Seymour and their team of spooky helpers for putting on such a great event this morning celebrating both the parkrun we’re fortunate to have here in NZ and the ancient festival of Halloween.

Nigel Milius, Cooks Beach

Upcoming events are the Christmas Day edition on 25th December, and Boxing Day edition on 26th December! Yep! That's two parkruns in two days' time for the holidays!! We will NOT be having parkrun on New Year's Day, but will be having it as usual on 2nd January.


The event was made possible by 14 volunteers:

Carmella BURY • Nigel MILIUS • Dani MOYNES • Chris SEYMOUR • Dave PEARSON • Jamie SEYMOUR • Ina CHALMERS • Fleur DOUGLAS • Declan MURRAY • Matthew PESTER •  Wendy BANKS • Michelle MOYNES • Scarlett ROSE

Today's full results and a complete event history can be found on the Queenstown parkrun Results Page.