Rotorua whirlwind trip to run the half marathon

The last weekend in April I jetted up to Rotorua, on an Air New Zealand turboprop jet departing Wellington, for a less than 24 hour whirl-wind trip away.

Landing at Rotorua Airport

Landing at Rotorua Airport

I planned to run the half marathon, after my ambitious plans to run the full marathon fell short, due to not enough training time (family commitments and children off school with various ailments) and a tight hamstring, (after one over enthusiastic long training run, in shoes that had really seen better days). I’d originally thought running 42 kms to see in my 42nd Birthday would be a grand idea, but never mind – I was still happy to be running the half, knowing I’d be able to walk comfortably the next day and carry on parenting my three lovely daughters in good form!

It was a fabulous flight, landing late afternoon. Rotorua is a beautiful place, of geophysical wonders and rich cultural heritage. It’s a place that deserves a lot longer than a one night stay, but I needed to get back to my family on the Saturday afternoon, so I was simply happy to make the most of the short time I had.

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Flying in over Rotorua

After checking into the lovely Millennium Hotel Rotorua, I walked along a pathway next to the ‘Sulphur Bay Wildlife Refuge‘¬†and past the amazing Museum of Rotorua, to collect my race pack.

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Rotorua Museum

It was a beautiful calm evening, with gorgeous colours in the sky. I was very glad to arrive in time to enjoy a moment before darkness fell.

Sulphur Point Wildlife Sanctuary and Lake Rotorua (Motoutara) Wildlife Refuge

Sulphur Point Wildlife Sanctuary and Lake Rotorua (Motoutara) Wildlife Refuge

The next thing on my mind was a good dinner and the hotel restaurant had put on a wonderful menu of various pasta dishes; very thoughtful for their guests participating in the running events the next day!

The night before, a good feed, a good read and a nice glass of red!

The night before, a good feed, a good read and a nice glass of red!

After dinner (and a little red wine) I headed to my room to prepare my gear for the next morning, take a shower, and settle down for a good night’s sleep.

I woke up the next morning before my alarm (I never sleep soundly the night before a running event) and was greeted to messages on my phone from my youngest daughter, aged 6, who was missing me but wanted to wish me well and let me know how much she was looking forward to seeing me later in the day.

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It was lovely to respond to her messages, and others from my dear hubby – watching over our three daughters so that I could enjoy this rare trip away. I left the hotel in good spirits and looking forward to a good run (though wishing I’d held back a little on the red wine the night before!). It was a beautiful autumnal morning and I snapped a couple of photos as I walked across to the start line.

Walking to the start line.

Walking to the start line.

Autumn colours carpeting the ground.

Autumn colours carpeting the ground.

Making my way to the start line, admiring the sculptures and gorgeous autumn colours.

Making my way to the start line, admiring the sculptures and gorgeous autumn colours.

The atmosphere at the start line was wonderful.

Waiting for the gun!

Waiting for the gun!

The video below gives a great glimpse into the setting for the start and finish, as well as beautiful arial views over Rotorua. There were walking and running entrants in both the half and full marathon and I met a man at the start line who had ran the full marathon for many a year, but now came to walk the half marathon. People travelled from all over the country – and the world – to participate. This was the 52nd year the Rotorua Marathon had been held, so it has quite a history!

I finished the run just under 1 hour 50 minutes, which I was pretty pleased with for my 6th half marathon within two years. The conditions were beautiful, with just a slight wind and a very flat course. There was a little too much running on road for my liking though – I’m definitely going to have to start seeking out more off-road half marathons with more undulations, as mixed terrain keeps things more interesting and my mind more alert!

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I finished 8th place in my division Рof female runners aged 40 to 44 (of which there were 68 finishers).

Out of the 475 female finishers in the half marathon run I came in 52nd place and overall, out of the 873 finishers, I came 220th.

I had enough time after the run for a walk around the gardens, admiring memorial sculptures, and a dip in the hotel pool, before catching a taxi to the airport for my flight home to Wellington.

 

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I was fortunate to have a window seat on the flight home and spent the hour and ten minute flight to Wellington chatting to a lovely lady whilst admiring the incredible scenery of the Tongariro National Park and the volcanoes of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Ngauruhoe.

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