Date: 22 March 2015
The field of runners at the race briefing.
Gerry seems ready for the second 21 for the weekend.
Wet roads from the rain we woke up to early in the morning.
At this point there weren’t many other runners behind us going straight.
Luckily only a short bit of the course is on a busy road (State Highway 2).
With Tui’s doors already open for business, it’s very hard not to hang a left for a pint or two!
Another lovely tranquil run in rural NZ.
You even get to share the road with tractors.
Striking a Charlie Chaplin pose. We are the Tail-end-Charlie’s after all. 😉
Minor confusion whether this cone meant ‘go straight’ or ‘turn right’.
Farmyard flavours, reminder of the great Merlot’s we’ve shared with good friends over the years.
While the skies weren’t as blue as the previous day at Taihape, we were still treated to near-perfect running conditions.
The hilly little twist in the tail.
Once over the crest, it’s not far to go on a downhill and flat stretch to the finish.
Uhum, still too much energy.
Prize-giving was a jolly affair with sausages, beers, tea, coffee and cake.
The weather for our second back-to-back 21 could again not have been better. No wind, fairly warm, but rather humid. The start and finish for this mainly fast and flat run, is at the Pahiatua stadium. Organised by the Bush Harriers, the highlight of the day is probably the amount of spot prizes. You know there’s no shortage when every single participant receives something. And then the club president would still request anybody who has not received something, to put their hand up. And even after that, there was still a box full of prizes left over for next time!
The course runs through the residential part of town before heading north on SH2 towards Hawkes Bay. Just before the 5km mark, you leave the main road to run past the famous Tui Brewery HQ heading east between farms. Nice and quiet roads with great weather made for a comfortable easy long run.
At about 9km, a short section of about 2km is run on a gravel farm road. We were happily trotting along, and started to pass a walker here and there before the route gradually started on an incline from about the 15km mark. And with 2km to go, a proper 700 metre long hill reduced most runners to a walk. But once over the crest, it is downhill and flat to the finish.
Sausage sizzles and beer were for sale. Tea and coffee were on the house. As it was the 30th anniversary of this event, lovely moist chocolate cake was also passed around to everybody.
A nice run in the country, well worth the outing. Water stations at about 6.5, 12, 16 and 18km. A good course also for walkers as it is mainly flat easy terrain. Since this event is in our neck of the woods, a lot of familiar faces were out and about. Great to see so many of our own club members and also starting to recognise a few from neighbouring town clubs. Unless anything critical comes up, we’ll most probably be back next year.
Date: 21 March 2015
Registration just down the road, under a tree. 🙂
Runners, walkers and spectators at the event HQ.
Is that a Tarawera T I’m spotting? 😉
And that’s the total field of half marathon runners – with me and Gerry (taking the photo) right at the back.
Beautiful winding road up ahead.
Running with the smell of freshly turned soil in the air.
A nice bit of downhill before the next uphill.
This is the life!
The gravel road stretch between farms was really special – tranquil and serene.
Running in an environment like this is good for your body and soul.
The little bits of shade was on the cold side for me.
At the end of the out-and-back stretch is a water station with friendly volunteers.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect (at least for most people).
This is a lovely event – one we would definitely keep on the calendar in future.
Classic rural New Zealand.
A lovely bunch of volunteers at the final water station – sure to put a smile on anybody’s face!
With roads and scenery like this, one can carry on all day long.
On the last 1.5km stretch back on the sealed road, with the finish in sight.
Sausage sizzle and a small Lindauer bubbly on the house, we opted for a beer and sausage while waiting for prize-giving to start. Hot-cross buns with cheese and coffee shortened the trip back home.
Taihape is a bit of a drive for us, but we needed the training and truth be told, if we tried to run back-to-back 21’s on our own, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Besides it’s so much more fun doing events, even if you are last and run most of the way on your own. You have support along the route and get to run on new roads, giving your mind and body a bit of a break from your usual training paths. Plus you support a local community, so why not? Continue reading
Date: 11 March 2015
Stadium Pahiatua is the headquarters for the Bush Harriers’s events.
The handful of runners at the start of the 5km fun run.
I thought it might rain, but the weather turned out perfect.
Some artwork en route.
A scenic rural small-town course.
Impressive clouds added to the scenery.
We’re starting to catch some of the walkers who started 10 minutes earlier.
At our previous running of this event (2014), I couldn’t believe the average running speed. Where are all the slow runners? Well no surprises therefore to be just about last again. I find it very amusing that running is taken so seriously (even at a fun run). It is seemingly not something you do for fun, at an easy pace, just enjoying the fact that you’re out there being active.
We were prepared this time. In fact, I’ve made peace with being last at every event I enter into. So incase anybody worries about being last – don’t. I’ll always be the tail-end-Charles. 🙂
It is probably not worth the 28km drive across the hill to Pahiatua for this, but still nice to run in a different environment. As was the case last time, I again walked away with a spot prize! Bananas. Very practical and always useful.
Date: 15 March 2015
Us two at the start in the town square.
Fancy dress was the order of the day.
Me and some ape hanging around in the gutter shortly before the start. 🙂
Running through vineyards and on quiet small town roads is just awesome.
One of the musicians. He played some good ol’ rockers to help keep our pace up.
Couldn’t believe the weather. Another perfect day in the Wairarapa.
The private farms and vineyards are normally closed to the public.
Having a laugh with fellow participants who we met at the campsite the night before.
Just follow the grapes.
Festive drink stations with at least wine, water, watermelon and grapes.
More entertainment en route.
Even the stretches on the larger roads were virtually traffic-free.
The themed drink stations were so much fun. The nurses and doctors at this water point (Shortland Street) was giving sustenance by squirting wine with a syringe down the suffering “patients” throat. 😀
More music to add to the festivities.
These youngsters waiting for the first few speedsters in the 10km event to come through before taking off on the last 3 or so kilometres.
Running around the vineyards next to shelter belts.
Gerry on another loop around the vines.
The barn band providing lots of entertainment on the route.
Gerry not holding back on the tastings.
But with such a spread, who can resist.
A band on the school grounds about 1.5km before the finish.
“Welcome home darling, the roast is in the oven. Have a glass of wine.” The Desperate Housewives drinks station was my favourite.
The largest number of participants is surely in the 10km walk?
Nice to see there’s still some hippies around!
Lifesavers from “Baywatch”.
And four wine barrels.
Band at the square keeping everybody entertained throughout the morning.
Sausage sizzle and a glass of wine to finish off a great event.
Prize-giving where it was mentioned that the event drew some 1500 participants.
This event is an absolute MUST on every runner, walker, crawler or otherwise breathing person’s calendar. It is the biggest jollification around with everybody dressing up and getting into the spirit of things, from the marshals to the drink stations, ushers and organisers. Words cannot describe the fun that is the Round the Vines. Continue reading
Date: 7 March 2015
A perfect early morning start in the foothills of Mt Taranaki.
Start-selfie. with our regular pre-marathon mix of excitement and apprehension.
The first few downhill kilometres combined with the great weather, makes it very tempting to go out too fast.
Country roads meandering through dairy farms.
Gerry enjoying an easy run.
Fly fly away.
Friendly volunteer helpers at the well stocked aid stations.
Reaching SH3 – the first stretch on busy roads.
Approaching the halfway mark at Inglewood.
A little out-and-back section in town to make up the distance.
Lots of supporters makes this a jolly changeover.
After a good shower, the rain stopped and our clothes had time to dry out.
Back onto SH3 with congested traffic.
With one kilometre to go, we got another soaking. Coupled with the wind, I was near-hypothermic at the finish.
Happy, but shivering, at the finish.
Mountain? There was a mountain? As is the case more often than not, Mt Taranaki was tucked in under a thick blanket of cloud all weekend. So much so, that it was hard to figure out where exactly the mountain is supposed to be on our drive to New Plymouth. If I hadn’t been there and seen Mt Taranaki at numerous previous occasions, I would never have thought there’s a beautiful 2518m high volcanic cone, dusted at the top with snow.
Since TUM we’ve cut back on our weekly kilometres quite a bit. Needless to say, the week after the 100km event saw only a couple of walks with one or so short attempt at a “run”. As we didn’t burn it both ends at the Tarawera, our recovery was quite fast. Not that I’m fully recovered one month after the Tarawera, but I’m not injured and okey to do a little bit of training/maintenance for our next ultra – the Two Oceans 56km in South Africa. Apart from sensitive feet on Gerry’s part and a general lack of energy and lethargy on my side, we are nearly back on track one month after the Tarawera. The Mountain to Surf was placed perfectly in the middle of our post-Tarawera build-up towards the Two Oceans. Continue reading