Nelson runs

After three weeks of 70k per week, it was time for a cut-back week. Luckily this coincided with a work trip to Nelson. With all the best of intentions in the world, it remains challenging to try and fit in runs while out of town for jobs. That also goes for travelling. When your holiday involves tents and lots of different campsites, it just gets too hard with super early runs, fitting in a shower, and still pack up and vacate the site by 10am, not to mention the pile of wet, dirty running gear. This, of course, is much easier if you can afford (and are that way inclined) to stay in somewhat more luxurious accommodation for a few days or weeks at a time.

The first few days it was raining. Pouring, for the most part. Work was meant to keep Gerry busy from seven in the morning, until nine every night, but he could leave earlier to go out for dinner. I used my days to edit a friend’s thesis.

The backpackers where we stayed was central – town centre, conference venue, Suter Gallery, Refinery Art Space, FreshChoice, etc. could all be reached within less than a 2km walk. Fortunately, Gerry could nick away on some days for lunch, which we used for short runs – three to be exact – and the sum total of 20k is all we could manage for the whole week.

On one of those outings we followed the Maitai River and walkway; a lovely footpath and trail where one can do a few kilometres out-and-back (8.1k all the way to the Maitai Motorcamp where we have stayed a couple of times before. This time we turned around at the Black Hole), or do a loop that takes you to Botanical Hill (this we only realised later when two guys we passed on the way back next to the stream, came from the front again at the lower parts of Botanical Hill). On the way back we decided to make a detour to the Centre of New Zealand, so named because it was used as a central survey point in the 1800s.

A steep climb over about one kilometre, and an elevation gain of 147m (a good spot for some vert training), takes one to the top of Botanical Hill and to the highest point which features a sculpture of a needle. Even though one has a beautiful view over Nelson and surrounds, it was quite windy and very cold, so we didn’t stay long.

A very nice little Nelson loop that we will try to do when next we are in Nelson. Or if we are fit enough and have the time, go all the way to the motorcamp and back.

For the second half of the week, the sun came out, and the temperature turned somewhat warmer. On one of these days we ran next to the highway on a walkway that stops abruptly after 2.8k if one starts at the Trafalgar Centre. Or so it appeared. Perhaps it would have continued on after a stint through the suburbs, but we were out of time anyway. Apart from some sculptures, I was rather surprised to see a tiny little olive grove in a green strip en route. There’s just something about an olive ‘tree’ that warms my cockles every time. They speak to me; the colour of the leaves, the lovely smell when chipping the prunings for mulch, the softness of the new growth, the heaviness of the wood, the beautiful clusters of tiny flowers (unfathomable to think they can bear fruit), and of course the fruit that produced pure liquid gold.

Glad to have managed to experience a tiny bit of Nelson on foot. Maybe next time we can add to that.

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