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


Western Springs parkrun – Event #234 – 12 December 2020

It was another lovely morning with 70 people turning up to run, jog or walk the course at Western Springs. Some gave themselves the extra challenge of pushing a pram or running with a dog, while others clearly had speed on their mind.

We started with the usual briefing and welcoming the first timers – there were 10 this week. We were delighted to hear we had two UK visitors who were running their first NZ parkrun. Delighted to have you with us Oliver PENDLETON and Julia CONNICK. It’s so exciting to be able to welcome international visitors these days. Even more so, when we heard that Oliver is here as part of the Americas Cup team. After a bit of gentle Cup-sledging, we set off - and it turns out that Oliver is a bit of a speedster (coming in 4th) so the joke’s on us!

I got to enjoy the event from the finish chute today, as one of the timekeepers. It was exciting to experience parkrun from that perspective. Once everyone heads off there is a small lull, while you set up the finish line and have a natter. Then the anticipation builds, as you wait for the first person to cross the line. There was talk that a new record might be set for this new temporary course, and they weren’t wrong! Both the male and female records were beaten with Peter KENNY finishing first in 18:46 and Dianne AYNSLEY coming in third in a time of 20:06. What a fantastic effort.

There were other great achievements too. We had five personal bests and some impressive finish-line collapses – clearly some people left nothing in the tank (only enough energy for a broad grin). Zyron Zia LOPEZ and Noahbras ROY (aged 8 and 10) completed their 10th parkrun today – great to see you guys reaching this milestone. We also heard of a woman who ran a sub-30 minute while in her third trimester, and of a chap who was pushing a pram with two kids and still striving for a PB, as well as a runner who recently celebrated his 86th birthday. Wow, hats off to you all.

This week’s event was made possible by a crew of 13 volunteers, so thank you to:

Doug O'SHEA • Brett CARTER • Elizabeth HARDING • Emma PERCY • Karl CROSBY • Rosalind KELLY • Jonathan SIMPSON • Ian WHYTE • Isabella CARTER • Sue SEDON • Brett SEDON • Anna HICKEY • Mary HAY

If you want to help out with the event you can check out the roles available for the coming weeks here https://www.parkrun.co.nz/westernsprings/futureroster.We have a parkrun on 25 and 26 December and on 1 and 2 January, so plenty of opportunities to try out a new role.

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 5,082 participants have completed 25,129 parkruns covering a total distance of 125,645 km, including 3,973 new Personal Bests. A total of 459 individuals have volunteered 2,225 times.

Mary Hay


Western Springs parkrun – Event #233 – 5 December 2020

Western Springs parkrun - Event #233 – 5 December 2020
As usual I got that twinge of excitement as I arrived at parkrun today. There is just
something special about seeing that sea of walkers and runners mixing and mingling
before the event. It was a strong turnout with 96 people this week, including people
from 9 different clubs.
We kicked off the morning with a Christmas present collection for the Monte Cecilia
Trust. Amassing an exciting pile of books and games for kids this year, which is
awesome. Thanks to Marcia SOANES and Jason WOOD for organising all this and
to for everyone for their generous donations.
It was great to welcome lots of first timers again this week. More than 10% of the
field were new to Western Springs parkrun. It’s so lovely to see families with young
children building this event into their weekend too. What an amazing effort from the
wee ones – it’s a long way to go when you are that small!
We also celebrated two exciting milestones this week with Sue Sedon completing 50 runs and
Jo KING clocking up her 200th . Well done! I chatted to Jo about her parkrun journey
as we were ambling along, learning that she has been with Western Springs since
the very first event, about five years ago. It seemed to happen quite serendipitously
for her, as she learned about “this thing called parkrun” just as Western Springs was
about to start. It’s a parkrun journey that many of us share, as often we hear about it
at just the right time.
Our fastest runners this week were Ben MAI who crossed the line first in 19.09 and
Anna HICKEY who was the first female finishing in 21.57.
Sue SEDON had this week’s top age grade for the females (77.64%) and Simon
DENCH, who is new to parkrun, topped the males (72.73%). Age Grading takes your
time and uses the world record time for your gender/age to produce a score, as a
percentage. The higher the percentage, the better the performance. This allows a
comparison of your performance against other people's performances, even though
they might be a different category to you. This can be interesting but is only a rough
comparison, as it doesn’t take into account things like weather conditions or terrain.
There were only a few personal bests this week, from Andrew FERDINANDO, Tom
HITCHCOCK and Dhairsh PATEL. Is it just me or are people are feeling a bit tired as
2020 draws to a close?
When you look at the results for this event you will see there are 12 ‘unknowns’,
including the person that came in second. These will be people that haven’t
registered for parkrun so don’t have a barcode. So just a reminder that if you would
like to us to record your time you need to along your barcode please.
Please join me in thanking these 15 volunteers for their support this week:
Richard BOYD • Henry VAN DE WALL • Brett CARTER • Emma PERCY • Chris

WILLIAMS • Isaac LE-GRICE • Charles NANNESTAD • Katrina COMESKEY • Alison
We need volunteers to keep parkrun going, so if you come regularly please think
about putting your hand up. All the roles are very straightforward and its nice to know
that you helped make it happen. You can check out the roles available for the
coming weeks here https://www.parkrun.co.nz/westernsprings/futureroster
 There are some exciting opportunities coming up. Not only do we have a
Western Springs park run on Saturday 26 December and 1 January, but we
will ALSO have them on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. What an
excellent way to start a day of potential indulgence.
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 5,071
participants have completed 25,059 parkruns covering a total distance of 125,295
km, including 3,968 new Personal Bests. A total of 458 individuals have volunteered
2,212 times.

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