Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Karen writes: Paeroa to Thames run

The Paeroa to Thames run along part of the Hauraki rail trail was on Sunday, 28+km, it was a little unclear on the actual distance.  What a neat run, well worth the 90 minute or so trip to get there from Auckland.

We were meeting up with Kate down there and fellow runner J and myself headed off early in the wee green car. I made the rather silly decision of heading round the coast rather than going into town to hop on the motorway for the longer but apparently faster trip according to Mx Google.  So we ended up on that very pretty drive, but it took a bit more time than anticipated, especially when at Kawakawa Bay horrible grinding noises came from the car innards. We stopped, couldn’t see anything dragging on the ground, started off again, grind grind scree crunch.  Oh the heart drops, feeling sick, to not turn up at a looked forward to start-line is awful, I've never done that before and to let J down as well. Ok, let’s turn around and hope it goes away, then we can divert off to the motorway if it does. Hang on, some ancient memory of a similar noise rose to the surface... slam into reverse and scoot backwards, ah stone in the brakes. WHEW.

So a relatively uneventful the trip after that, arrived at the school in Paeroa where the start was, how refreshing, close parking, free chocolate, and (mark of a quality event) real toilets not portaloos.  I haven’t seen such genuine old-school school toilets since...well...I don’t remember them being like that even in my day.  Wow, a glorious example of working history, I've said before, with running you never know what you will see.

We headed off along the route of the old railway line, glorious morning, and the running surface was gravel so a little attention was needed.  A lot of attention however was needed for the multitude of concrete cattle stops, and of course the flexible swing or suspension type bridges.  Ever tried to run on one of those?  They come up to meet you with every step, and if someone else is also running (or walking), well, I found it was the weirdest of sensations, going from novel to queasy on the longer versions.  Since I’m known for my love of bridges, I’m not complaining though, I got to see all sorts. 

Special memories, having to stop for mother duck and her flotilla of little ducklings crossing the path from one drainage ditch to another, the big pond with so many frogs in it the noise was almost painful, the strange kid who turned up in odd places, and a picture perfect day running a flat if ankle challenging surface through a beautiful landscape with the hills marching alongside.

The finish was at the Thames rugby club. A novel method of making sure everyone stayed for prize-giving was to not have the transport back to the start until after all the formalities had finished.  But hey there was an ice cream truck, a sausage sizzle and more genuine vintage toilets.  Perfect. It was so nice I would really like to look at more of that trail, more info here http://www.haurakirailtrail.co.nz/.  Now the picture isn't mine, I was running for a change and watching my feet not taking photos, I've borrowed it off the council website (call it advertising) and it gives an idea of things.
Picture courtesy of TCDC
So we drove back agreeing it had been a good day, several food and drink stops were made to sort out post event cravings and if that is the only long run before Auckland marathon in four weeks, we are ready, minimum done.

Now swimming...ah...swimming.  Yes.  A swim. Maybe tomorrow.