I guess if you battle with motivation to do long runs on your own, it’s always a good idea to join some other runners for an event somewhere. Even it there’s only 21 other participants.
The Foxton Beach run is organised by the local Lions Club in Foxton, a small town on the west coast of the North Island not far from where we stay. We stumbled upon the event earlier this year and decided to participate when the time comes. Then we overheard other runners saying that they weren’t sure whether it was still on and thought the race might be cancelled. But luckily I saw it listed in the Runner’s World so we reckoned it must be on.
With a coffee in hand, we drove the 30 odd kilometres towards the small town of Foxton Beach early on sunday morning. After registration we lined up on the beach, and I counted 21 participants in total for the 20km run. The start is just outside the Foxton Beach Surf Club and you run north towards Himatangi Beach for 10 kilometres, before turning around and running back.
It is really a no fuss event. Three water points en route, placed at the 3/17, 5/15 and 8/12km points, ensured we stayed hydrated. The tide was low and loads of blue bottles were strewn on the beach. No “road closure” meant that we had to be on the look out for vehicles (as it is legal to drive on the beach in NZ), but luckily the organisers did warn the public about the event and also tried to keep cars off the beach for the duration of the events.
A bit of a head wind on the way out made the run hard, but on the way back it was a breeze. We did a 15km long-run the day before, and I could only manage a fairly slow pace for this event. The weather was a wee bit chilly and windy for me, but otherwise just about perfect. This event can only be described as a lovely run on the beach and I’m very glad we made the effort. It was amazing to what extend running on the sand worked my calve muscles. The sand looked pretty solid, but still made a huge difference on one’s body.
At the prize-giving (actually it was only a spot spize-giving as there was no official recognition for the winners) we were surprised to see the Surf Club packed with people, not having seen many participants at registration. But apparently most runners and walkers participated in the 5 or 10km events. The 20km was a running-only event and about 180 people in total took part over all events. That’s quite a large group for such a small town. Well done and thanks to the organisers and volunteers. But as we were saying afterwards, maybe a bit more advertising might have helped to boost the numbers even further? A few banners in the larger towns, like Palmerston North, maybe?
On the spot-prize topic; I found it astounding that 107 spot prizes (that’s huge!) were handed out amongst the 180 participants. Gerry received a little cool bag and $5 food voucher at a local spot.