Wellington is just one of those events – the ones you do because everybody does. And, well, FOMO (fear of missing out). And since the major spot prize usually entails free entry and a trip to a big international marathon (this year it was the Paris marathon), we decided to do the event and be in for the lucky draw. Why not? At the very least, it forces one to do your weekend long run, which might otherwise have fallen by the wayside.
As it was also the third event in a friend’s stint of 8 half marathons in 8 days to raise money for Orphans Aid International, we had another reason to go. Even if we didn’t run together all the way, we could be there at the start and the finish in support and to see how she was holding up.
On the trip down from Palmy, the weather wasn’t all too good. It was rainy and windy, and we knew that it was only a matter of time before we’d run into some really crappy weather at this event. What would Wellington be without a bit of wind!
After registration, we caught up with some mates and made our way to the start. The half marathon field is rather big, boasting around 1500 participants, so to get over the startline, usually takes a wee while. Luckily the event starts at a massive open space outside Westpac Stadium so this doesn’t really pose any problems.
The course meanders along the Quays, until you turn left onto Oriental Parade, past Greta Point and Evans Bay, toward the Airport on Cobhams Drive and on up ahead to Shelly Bay, before turning around and returning the same way. This makes for a very social event as we had runners coming from the front from about the 6km mark. Yeah, the really speedy ones were already on their way back while we slow pokes hadn’t even reached the second waterpoint yet.
As we trotted along around the bays in the first quarter of the event, we had a tail wind and with the sun coming through the clouds, things looked up, and I was actually warm with all my layers. That was short lived, unfortunately – when we turned onto Cobham Drive just after the 7km mark, the wind picked up quite a bit and the temperature also dropped immediately as the sun disappeared behind the clouds that were rolling in thick and fast from all directions. At the halfway mark, my hands were numb from the cold and from there it just got worse. Back onto Oriental Parade we ran into the headwind which nearly stopped my in my tracks, and I could only manage a slow shuffle around the bays while I was getting colder and colder. And just for good measure we also got a few spits of rain. By the time we finished, I was shivering like a stick.
Luckily the venue offers hot showers which helped considerably, and while we waited for prize-giving to start, we also scoffed down some hot chips and coffee. And for the umpteenth time I counted my lucky stars that I hadn’t entered for the full marathon, as we would have been out on the road still, despite an earlier start by more than an hour. The weather got progressively worse with winds in excess of 50km/h and more rain, not to mention the drop in temperature.
Unfortunately we didn’t win any lucky draw prizes and on the drive back, we encountered one of the worse storms we’ve had in a long time. Pouring rain, gusty winds and even a hail storm. Back home we immediately poured a tipple and settled in for a warm comfy evening, sheltered from the storm.