Basically, see last years report for Lower Hutt parkrun, December 2012 but imagine Santa outfits, Christmas hats and a 9:00 am start.
We arrived early at the course and met the race director Richard McChesney. Richard, a very keen runner, had been living in the UK for a number of years and was very excited to bring the parkrun concept back with him when he returned. Richard, with his younger son, Zac, another keen runner, were ‘parkrun tourists’ around the UK so are well aware of the ethos and practicalities of being involved with parkrun. Richard was instrumental in getting the Lower Hutt parkrun started and it has proved to be very popular – information from parkrun.co.nz pages.
We also met a couple of ex-pats before the race. Well we spotted a T-shirt saying ‘Sunderland Strollers’ which kind of gave the game away. They had moved to New Zealand a few years back and now lived nearby. Paul, the ex-Stroller, invited us to a barbie for Christmas Day but unfortunately we couldn’t make it, but a lovely thought.
We were off, it’s a great course along the Hutt River, a bit up and down in places and still a headwind on the return journey but scenic and good paths. Like last Christmas it was very warm considering it has been raining and gale force winds the day before, we were very lucky with the weather.
Paul beat last year’s Christmas time and so did I, so all those fish and chips and burgers haven’t done too much damage I guess. Another parkrun done, another great course and fantastic volunteers. Who knows where we’ll be next year, come on South Island get your parkruns on (although one is starting in January, hmm).
Leading up to Christmas we were asked the usual question of ‘what are your plans on Xmas Day’. I do not think some people quite expected the answer of ‘parkrun’ and gave us some odd looks. However we turned up, on what was a crisp but sunny morning, to find over 100 other people with the same idea. Over double the number of people who came to the one they put on last year. Included in the turn out were Striders, Jan Y, Denise B, Michael R, Claire R, Mike H and Stan W.
The parkrun is two laps of the very scenic Hardwick Park, which takes you past follies, a lake, through trees, etc and it is my favourite parkrun course. For xmas they ran the route in reverse for a change. This course looks especially nice on a sunny morning like this one and it really reminds me of why I am out here doing this.
Well done to Claire R who came in as first female. There were no marshalls other than for scanning and timing, however they were busy making tea and coffee ready for everyone as they crossed the line, with an assortment of goodies including mince pies and cookies. A lovely atmosphere and thanks to the organisers who made the xmas day parkrun possible.
Jon and I were down on the South Coast visiting my family for Christmas and couldn’t resist squeezing in a parkrun while we were there. Due to a late arrival on Christmas Eve and general knackeredness we accidentally slept in on Christmas Day and therefore had to rush the present opening a bit to get out of the house on time (much to my sibling’s annoyance!), but fortunately my folks are only 5 mins drive from the Common so we made it in good time and joined an impressive 267 hardy souls, a large number of whom in fancy dress, who had braved the weather and sibling wrath to turn out.
I’ve done this parkrun before but the course had changed since the last time to avoid having to go over the muddy grass so it was a simple two loop run up towards the back of the common and then back down. “Up” being the key word here, its not steep but it is a bit of an energy sapping drag, especially when you know you have to do it again, all the while dodging fallen trees, but it was pleasant enough and I wasn’t after a PB anyway (or so I keep telling myself). Jon had a good run finishing 41st in just over 21 mins, I plodded round in a somewhat reasonable 26 mins dead, then it was back home to finish the present opening and give thanks for the gift of bacon sandwiches which had been prepared while we were out. It’s an unusual way to spend Christmas morning indeed but one I think will be part of the Steed family traditions for years to come.