Western Springs parkrun – Event #262 – 26/06/2021

Parkrun enjoyed by 146 people

The weather was fine for Western Springs’ 262nd event held on Saturday 26th June.

The course was looking ready to go, with only a few birds on the path albeit with some evidence in poo-alley that they had been there earlier that morning. Motivational chalk markings were beautifully inscribed by volunteers early that morning and there was a buzz around the crowd of nearly 150 at the start briefing.

Unofficial volunteer George started us off with a superb countdown and helped out the other volunteers with their jobs. They all need a mention here for the great mahi* they did to make the morning go smoothly.

Big karma-shout-out to volunteers:

Richard BOYD • Brett CARTER • Elizabeth HARDING • Tony COLLINS • Karen LIVINGSTON • Annabel ZUSSMAN • Arie DEKKER • Rebecca COOPER-BULLOCK • Esme BULLOCK • Anna HICKEY • Rebecca SCOTT • Mary HAY • Sally WONG.

The fastest male finisher was James Murphy (18:49) joining in for his first time, and the females were led by Anna Hickey (21:15).

18 people came for their first time and special mention goes to first timers Beck Webb and Hugo Bullock, both under ten years old. They would have been super impressed when Sam Archer got his 50 milestone award before kick-off. Very inspirational Sam!


It was a day of great running & walking with 27 recorded PBs**.

Post event coffee and hot chocolate beverages were well earned…...especially if you were reorganising the finish tokens (it’s a volunteer job available for anyone to enjoy). Good work Esme!

Report writers: Esme Bullock & Rebecca Cooper-Bullock


**personal best = fastest own time


Western Springs parkrun – Event #261 – 19/06/2021

The Puddle

It was a very wet and rainy start to the Saturday parkrun. The large puddles we had to drive through to get to parkrun were an ominous start to the morning. The rain was coming down steadily overhead at 8am, so it was unsurprising to find a smaller than usual crowd gathered for the pre-run briefing today. In fact, there were only 55 people who ran, jogged and walked the course today. This is the smallest number of finishers since 1 January 2021. Today there were 6 first timers braving the rain, and 15 volunteers. Despite the rain, there were 3 new personal bests/PBs: Jason WOOD, Darin GRAHAM and Jack TOLLEY. First male was Max BANIA at 19:47 and first female (also a first timer!) was Madeleine COLLINS at 22:36.

The start of the course was deceptive, with a few splashes of rain in puddles on the ground. However, as you reached the lake, you could see that it had completely burst the banks, resulting in parts of the lakeside track becoming an optional swim. You almost needed togs after the first bridge, it was a wet and muddy wade through the water to reach drier ground! Fortunately, by the time most participants had finished, the day had improved with blue skies and the sun reappearing. We did, however, all need a big shower afterwards to wash off all the mud.

Well done to everyone for braving the rain and still having a go. There were lots of smiles, chats and laughter both before and after the run and the usual vibrant Western Springs atmosphere. We were some of the lucky ones not to have our parkrun cancelled today due to flooding. See you next week!

The event was made possible by 15 volunteers:

Jennie CADE • Leanne WALKER • Brett CARTER • Lesley RYAN • Elizabeth HARDING • Julie COLLARD • Tony COLLINS • Karen LIVINGSTON • Gordon MARTIN • Dawn MUNRO • Alice DRURY • Karen ANDREWS • Anna HICKEY • Phillippa CREWS • Emily DRURY

Western Springs parkrun started on 21st November 2015. Since then 5,489 participants have completed 28,057 parkruns covering a total distance of 140,285 km, including 4,376 new Personal Bests. A total of 505 individuals have volunteered 2,541 times.



Western Springs parkrun, Event #254, 1st May 2021

Obviously, the most important thing at Western Springs today is the parkrun, but the area has long been considered valuable for a variety of reasons. Te Wai Orea, as it was known to the Maori, valued it both for the clean, clear water and for the eels that call this home. Indeed, that original name translates to “The water of the Eels”. Even today eels can be seen easily from our 5km course and both the Long-finned and the more common Short-finned species can be found here, though it’s probably better to look for them before or after the run rather than risk being distracted and getting the underwater view during the event!

Other wildlife is more obvious from the sorts of glances possible while parkrunning. Today I noted lots of Mallard and a few Black Swans (both with small chicks), also Paradise Shelduck, Coot, New Zealand Dabchick and 5 Royal Spoonbills on the lake. Around the edge were Red-billed and Black-backed Gulls, Pigeons, Welcome Swallows, House Sparrows and Mynas, quite the variety.

The lake which forms the centrepiece of our 5km dates back to 1875. The Auckland Council bought the land from William Motion who had a farming and milling operation on the site, and built it to store water from the springs for the fast-growing city. The name Western Springs differentiated it from the springs in Auckland domain. Its useful life for that purpose was fairly short-lived, and by the end of the 19th century as Auckland developed water catchment schemes in the Waitakeres, Western Springs fell into disuse and disrepair.

The land was largely boggy and mostly unsuitable for building houses, and for a few decades it appears it was mainly used for the illegal dumping of rubbish. The rejuvenation began with the zoo starting up in the 1920’s, and in the 1960’s the formation of the park we know today really got underway. The restoration of the lake and the original pumphouse, plantings, the development of tracks and paths, and the creation of a Japanese Garden have been, and still are, on-going since that time.

So that is how the parkrun course came about and why 153 people, plus a few dogs, were able to enjoy the 254th edition of Western Springs parkrun here on a beautiful, sunny morning to herald the start of May.

Among the field, there are, as always, some who deserve special mention. Firstly a big, big welcome to Memphis Chalmers, Matt Stewart, Natalie Tuck, Liz Rowe, Katya Sukhova and Rachel Harriss who all completed their 1st ever parkrun anywhere today. Hope you all had a great experience and look forward to seeing you at parkrun again, either here or elsewhere. On top of those 6 were another 14 people who scanned their barcodes for the first time at Western Springs this morning. These included both Julian Ng and Ben Chidgey who, in 17.55 and 18.21 respectively, were the first two home today. Well done and welcome one and all. Welcome too to the visitors we had join us from other parts of NZ, and especially to those from Melbourne and Brisbane. The international element of parkrun has been sadly lacking for a while now, so with the tentative steps of quarantine free trans-Tasman travel beginning, it was great to see it starting again.

Of returning runners, an amazing 33 managed to set new PB’s, including Pip Meo who led the ladies home this morning in 18.57. Again, well done all. Luke Pollock and Karen Andrews reached their “50 parkruns” milestones this morning, so well done to you two also.

As always, the loudest and longest applause goes to RD of the day, Michael Jenkinson and his team of hi-vis heroes. Remember, without these fine folk our favourite, free, weekly, timed 5km can’t happen, but here’s the best thing about the volunteer team; it’s really easy to join and share in the appreciation and gratitude bestowed upon them by those who just run or walk! As Michael mentioned in his briefing there are plenty of gaps on the roster for May, full training (fully transferable to around 2,000 events worldwide post-Covid) will be provided and there really jobs for everyone. So, what are you waiting for? Get in touch with the team, select the role you want and sign up now!

Thanks to everyone at Western Springs who made parkrunday morning what is was and to the Weta café at the zoo for offering a discount to parkrunners to help replace those calories burned.

Nigel Milius, Cooks Beach


Western Springs parkrun – Event #243 – 30 January 2021

My whanau's parkrun tour in tropical Tamaki Makarau resumed today during the city's anniversary weekend. This time we were back at the Western Springs course next to Auckland Zoo.

For me this was my third run here having first completed the Boxing Day event in 2015. That run holds fond memories for me as it was where I achieved my highest ever parkrun placing - 11th! Mind you only 20 showed up on that beautiful sunny morning but I tend to leave that part out of my story!

I had a quick look at the results from that event and found a few parkrun pearls. Of the 20  starters that day, 5 have gone on to the 300 club and one has just entered the 400 club!  The field had some genuine parkrun stalwarts. Also enjoying some parkrun tourism that day was fellow Lower Hutt parkrunner Bruce McCARDLE. And finally the runner who came home first that day was today's Run Director Peter KENNY! The circle is complete!


I noted that for various reasons (flooding, park works) the course at Western Springs has undergone a few changes since it started. There was another very minute change again today with the move of the finish line. That got me thinking of the courses I have done, which either required an amendment to the course or a complete move: Cornwall Park – when is a park not a park; Porirua - park works at Bothamley Park moved the venue to  another suburb, Plimmerton for a few months; Lower Hutt - adopting two start lines due to  a bottleneck in the first 100m created by the increasing numbers; and my favourite, Maidstone, UK – the finish line was moved every year for an annual animal show! (see  pic). It’s another example of the parkrun spirit - the show must and will go on!

Vatau Junior at the annual animal & farm show at Kent Life, Maidstone, Kent (2015).



To this week's stats:-

Many thanks to Peter KENNY and his team of volunteers who he introduced during the briefing: Rebecca SCOTT, Tony COLLINS, Anna HICKEY, Holly RADFORD, Jonathan SIMPSON, Leanne WALKER, Holly RADFORD, Sam WALKER, Isaac LE GRICE, Emma LE GRICE and moi! It was noted that a few doubled up by covering other volunteer roles. Remember, parkrun does not happen without volunteers and ANYONE can volunteer. There are volunteer roles which still allow you to run as well. And there is a free  tshirt for you when you reach 25!

Vatau Junior paying close attention to Peter KENNY’s briefing


Just the one today. Many congratulations to Robert VOWLES celebrating 150 today. Well done.

We put out the parkrun welcome mat to nine more members to the parkrun whanau on Saturday. Welcome all. We hope you had fun and look forward to seeing you again.

We also welcomed nine tourists (three of them being me my wife and son). Of note for me are Joanne HOLMES and Adrian DYKE are from Kent in the UK where I started my parkrun journey! Other places represented were New Plymouth, one other fellow Wellingtonian and of course Aucklanders doing the city’s parkrun circuit.

Again a warm day in the Queen City today, so it was great to have so much greenery
on this course providing much needed shade. The heat did not stop the following 19
parkrunners from recording PBs:
Kuni WATANABE - Simon McDOUGALL - Yoshie KOBAYASHI - Ben GRANT - Yvonne TSE (who I recognised as a former Lower Hutt parkrun regular completing 151 events there!) - Dhairesh PATEL - Angela JONES - Rachel MILLER - Andrew PARKER - Maria KOWALCZYK - Lorraine BREHENY - Catherine MARITZ - Ayawa SOTOME - Maelee SOTOME - Lani DODDS - Francis MIHEC - Jozef MIHEC - Helen LAMB - Ima  FINAU

TOP 3s
Senior Women
1. Anna HICKEY
2. Elizabeth NEEDHAM
3. Yoshie KOBAYASHI who topped the veteran Female podium too.

Senior and Veteran Men
Big result today for the parkrun veterans as they took out the event’s top 3 spots! You can't beat experience!
1. James PARKER (45-49)
2. Leon DICKISON (35-39)
3. Christopher ROBB (45-49)

Junior Girls
This trio all came from the 11-14 year group all finishing in sub-28 minutes:
1. Kimiko BROWN
2. Sienna MAKWANA
3. Aariya RAMA

Junior Boys
1. Kiran WHYTE (11-14)
2. Isaac LE GRICE (4-10)
3. Francis MIHEC (4-10) who also ran a PB!

Veteran Female
1. Yoshie KOBAYASHI (50-54) who also ran a PB!
2. Angela JONES (50-54)
3. Karin LEPOUTRE (35-39)

A very special shout out to our most experienced runner today running in the 80-84
category Terence THOMPSON, who completed the course in a very respectable
34:53. How inspirational is that!

For most parents this weekend is a busy one as the kids are back to school this week (hooray!).

Have a great week all. Enjoy the first week of school (kids and parents!). To our Auckland friends, enjoy the long weekend and drive safely. Until we are back in “the 09”, happy parkrunning all.


Team SAGAGA (Vatau / Melesete / Vatau Junior)
A555116 / A627876 / A6036724






Western Springs parkrun – Event #235 – 19 December 2020

It was the parkrun before Christmas… but it wasn’t quiet throughout the park; with 109 people joining there was definitely a buzz in the air. The day was starting to warm up but the clouds had yet to burn off, great conditions for getting outside for some exercise!

131935322_1485590518306326_2452431702268337670_oWe had 14 first timers to Western Springs today which was exciting – especially at this time of year when people are often very busy. There were people from 12 different clubs, including visitors from Balclutha and Porirua, hopefully they all enjoyed our picturesque parkrun spot.

It’s always inspiring starting off the day with milestones, and we had some big ones today. Young Noahbras Zia Roy, who is 8 years old, celebrated his 10th run. Florentine Bus celebrated her 50th parkrun, and Julie Collard celebrated her 50th run at Western Springs. And our new centurions, Dianne Aynsley and Sakae Moriwaki, celebrated their 100th runs!

131507727_1485589894973055_1570704441678341612_o 131384481_1485589931639718_5617461465558936495_o 131339426_1485590041639707_2255638863350778740_o

Today’s run was a new Personal Best for 10 participants today, with a wide range of times, congratulations to everyone!

The event today was made possible by the volunteers listed below, including some last-minute volunteers, Keith and Gin, who came to the rescue on Friday when a plea went out for help. Our marshals were full of smiles today and cheered everyone on through each loop of the park. Keith was an awesome photographer, very enthusiastic, and got some great pictures which are now posted on the Facebook page.

Today’s volunteers:

Brett CARTER • Keith CHING • James MCLENNAN • Ian WHYTE • Isabella CARTER • Melissa ALLAN • Mike BRICKNELL • Nick GORDGE • Sonia GORDGE • Karen ANDREWS • Gin WOO • Rebecca SCOTT

As we get into the summer break period with more people going away it is sometimes harder to fill all the positions we need to keep parkrun functioning. Please check out the roles available for the coming weeks here:

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

The female record is held by Rebekah GREENE, who recorded a time of 17:42 on 3rd November 2018 (event number 148).
The male record is held by Oliver MOTT, who recorded a time of 15:53 on 5th January 2019 (event number 159).
The Age Grade course record is held by Christine ADAMSON, who recorded 92.44% (21:36) on 22nd February 2020 (event number 219).

Western Springs parkrun started on 21st November 2015. Since then, 5,096 participants have completed 25,238 parkruns covering a total distance of 126,190 km; including 3,983 new Personal Bests. A total of 462 individuals have volunteered 2,237 times.

Rebecca Scott

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