Spring running highlights on Wellington’s trails

With continued niggles in my left hip area and peri-menopause symptoms (oh the joys!) I am taking a much more balanced approach to running these days, spending more time on strength, stability and stretching. I enjoy yin yoga classes to balance out the ‘yang’ of running. I listen more to my body and rest when I’m tired. I enjoy a relaxing walk, as much as a run, taking time to enjoy my surroundings (and the wonderful company of my hubby and our little dog!).

I participated in two running events in the latter half of this year, both located in the Upper Hutt region of greater Wellington. The first event was the Remutaka Rail Trail Half Marathon on 12 November, organised by the Trentham Harriers Running & Walking Club. This was such a fun event, so well organised by the club, and though we had a very soggy finish (got to love the unpredictable nature of spring!) it wasn’t cold and if anything the rain made for a refreshing finish. I haven’t been running much longer than 10km distance, so was really happy to have finished a half marathon in a time of 1:57:07. I had to dig in over the last few kilometres, but was happy that I kept moving and crossed the finish line with a soggy smile on my face!

The second event was part of the WAI Running Festival, on 10 December. Originally I was going to participate in the 24km ‘Quad Extender Fun Run’; but due to hormones and a general feeling of fatigue leading up to the event I opted for the 12km ‘Scenic Flight Fun Run’ (which turned out to be 13km). The 12km made up the first part of the 24km run (without going up and down Mt Climie; some 500 metres of elevation gain). The shorter run had enough hills to keep me honest anyway (some 400m of elevation gain) and the terrain was technical in parts, with an added slip factor due to a heavy downpour the day before the event. It was a lush course of undulations, with lots of single track through the bush. The run started at 9am, but I joined the volunteers to help hand out bibs and time chips at the beginning, from 7.30am, and then stayed around at the end for a few hours to cheer people over the finish line. There was a great atmosphere and it was great to see some friendly faces from the local running community.

In the past few months I’ve been happy to have averaged 100km of running a month and over 50km of walking. October was a big month (for me!), with 144km of running and 100km walking. It’s been good to feel my fitness return, after having covid at the beginning of July.

Here’s some photos from some of my runs, these are all on the south coast, or eastern suburbs, of Wellington.

I really enjoy getting out on the trails in Wellington, but do find I have to balance out hills with time on the flat, to make sure my left hip doesn’t flair up. I’m continually doing strength work, combined with stretches and rolling, but I still get some pain, so just try to listen and moderate runs accordingly. Some of my favourite trails are on the south coast, near where I live (I prefer to not have to drive somewhere to run – nothing like leaving your front door on foot and returning in the same way, without having to fold a sweaty body into a car seat to drive home!).

Close to my home I enjoy walking and running along the Southern Walkway, which winds through town belt land, through a blend of bushy reserves and along ridge lines, incorporating Mt Albert and Mount Victoria, between Oriental Bay and Island Bay.

I also love veering off the walkway, crossing the Berhampore public golf course (which also has public footpaths and a frisbee golf course), and joining the paths of the Tawatawa Reserve (which forms a small part of the 14.4km City to Sea Walkway).

Sometimes I’ll run other parts of city walkways, further afield, when I have a reason to be in a different part of the city. My little dog heads for a groom in Karori, one of the northern suburbs, every 7 weeks and it’s a suburb with access to some wonderful trails, including Wrights Hill and Makara Mountain Bike trails, and the Skyline Walkway.

I don’t always feel like I have truck loads of energy, but being out on the trails and moving in nature uplifts me and keeps me mentally (as well as physically!) happy in so many ways. I feel very grateful to have such easy access to so many beautiful trails.