It felt great to be at the last Xterra Wellington event of the series, meeting up with fellow runners in the Wellington community and hitting the trails at Makara wind farm, with sweeping views over the coastline to the south island on the horizon. Having ran both the medium and long course in previous years I went for the medium course for the second time (avoiding 3km heavily pebbled beach section of the longer course). It was a decent run of just over 10km with a couple of steep climbs, totalling 543m of elevation gain. I felt good on the day and the weather was perfect. I was delighted to beat my previous time by 10 minutes, which I think can be attributed to the strength work I’ve been consistently doing.
What I love about these events is the community. I knew a few friendly faces on this occasion, but I’ve turned up to events not knowing anyone and found myself easily engaged in conversation with fellow participants. There’s always a great mix of people and ages, with a number of young ‘trail blazers’ joining parents and other adults to run the short course.
The long course participants set out half an hour before the medium, followed by the short course an hour after the long course. All the courses finish on the same part of trail, so there’s a great coming together near the end. As I approached the second big climb, aptly named ‘Misery Hill’ I spotted a familiar face running the short course with his son and cheered them on. Mid way up the hill I was over taken by an incredible woman in her sixties, the only participant in her age category, as she power walked up on strong legs with a pair of poles in her hands (must look at getting some of those!), leaving me feeling inspired to keep up with this hobby that I started in my late thirties and have enjoyed for a decade.
As we reached the very top someone spotted a photographer and we all put our game faces on, unfolding our bodies from the near crawl position we’d been in to make it look like we’d run up the hill like a pack of spring chickens!
There’s nothing like a photographer to bring out a smile and it definitely makes everyone feel better – just look at Eliud Kipchoge, who set set the current world record for the fastest marathon ever, during the Berlin Marathon in 2018 with a time of 2:01:39, and seemed to smile more as the miles went by.
I’ve had some great runs and walks to bring a smile to my face in June, either outdoors or on the treadmill when I don’t feel like braving the elements! Nearly 200km of time moving in places that make me happy and climbing the local hills and trails.
Unfortunately I caught covid on my recent trip to Melbourne so my July running has been non-existent so far and I shan’t be picking up the pace until I’m fully recovered, but thankfully, after a week of feeling rotten I am on the mend and enjoying short walks without a problem, just feel tired – but that’s normal after any virus, so easy does it for a little while!
Off to the UK to see my dear Dad and sister tomorrow, travelling with my youngest, so we shall be making the most of the sunshine and enjoying lots of walks in the countryside together.