Ngaio Kerr was visiting family in New Zealand, which meant the opportunity for some parkrun tourism!
Nagio tells us about the subtle differences between parkrun in Australia and New Zealand, and reminds us that the parkrun world is small…
I came home recently to celebrate my dad’s 80th birthday. I debated long and hard as to whether to stay in Auckland, and then parkrun in Tauranga, or visit dad and then parkrun in Auckland.
It was with great excitement then that I noticed a new Auckland parkrun since our last visit. Not that it’s a competition, but in our parkrun Running Challenges it would be one my husband hadn’t done yet!
I haven’t yet convinced my sister (on the right above) to regularly take part, but she will always drop me off so that I can get my fix. I’m thankful that she’ll drive us to a parkrun we haven’t tried or she picked us up from the airport once and drove us straight to Barry Curtis so that we can get one in to start our holiday (though seriously, we won’t do that again – it meant running at what was 2:00am for us! ☹).
As I was stalking (I mean checking) the results, I noticed that friends that I hadn’t seen for 15 years were regulars at Hobsonville Point and that made up my decision.
I knew I made the right choice when I started chatting to the Tail Walker (originally from Austria). She recognized my old parkrun jumper from the previous sponsor. We chatted about the Alphabeteer challenge and how we both purposely chose parkruns on our trips. As well as me from Perth, there were also visitors from Brisbane and South Africa. I felt like I fitted right in.
In the pre-run briefing, the Run Director mentioned that Hobsonville Point was a nice flat course. Given the amount of celebrating with food I had done over the past four days, that felt good to me. How wrong he was!!!
Maybe compared to Dunedin it is flat, however, given that I’m living in Western Australia and Shelley parkrun has an elevation of zero, I felt every undulation. I had a chat to him afterwards and mentioned I’m currently an RD at Shelley parkrun in sunny WA.
We talked about the ‘hills’ and how he’s completed 24/28 of the NZ parkruns. Then, he said he had a second cousin he hasn’t met who parkruns at Shelley (!!). I know him well – the relationship is a little more tenuous and after checking the family tree it ends up as aunt’s husband twice removed. But its there and made for a great conversation when I got home.
I walked the first couple of kilometres with Frances and Deb and caught up with events. I then shuffled the rest of the way. It’s a lovely course with heaps of green native vegetation (to be honest I felt a little homesick).
The community of parkrun is very special and I’m very grateful that when I visit I meet people who like me wish to connect with their neighbours, share some stories and get a little exercise. Thanks to all the vollies (sister included) at Hobsonville Point parkrun! I’ll bring my husband next time!!
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