Run Report

The inaugural Owairaka parkrun

My run report from the inaugural Owairaka parkrun, October 24, 2020

When it comes to inaugural parkruns this year has led to much more anticipation than usual, and Owairaka parkrun was no exception.

It’s the second parkrun to start after a pause – Whanganui Riverbank parkrun was due to start in April but was delayed until July. Luckily for Owairaka their delay was only by one week.

We have one more event to come this year (the entry on this site for University of Waikato parkrun goes live on Saturday), but back to Owairaka.


Every parkrun has its own uniqueness and what makes Owairaka unique is its place in New Zealand athletics history.

You can read a bit more about that in the inaugural run report, written by Steve Darby.

Running past Arthur Lydiard’s old home makes this parkrun a must for anyone who wants to pay homage to athletic greats. Barry Curtis parkrun is another, part of the course is John Walker Promenade, Walker won gold at the 1976 Olympics in the 1500m.

Arthur Lydiard’s former home is in the top right.

I drove up to Auckland from Rotorua on the Friday afternoon and stayed with a friend. She’s not a parkrunner, but her husband is, so I suggested he find his barcode and join me for this event.

We took separate cars as I intended to stay for the parkfaff.


There are several places to park, if you want to leave your car in the same spot for the run and the cafe, then I would suggest the small car park off Owairaka Ave – it’s also the one closest to the park toilet.

If you want to be close to the start then Hendon Ave is your best bet.

We arrived around 7.30am, along with a number of other keen parkrunners. It was a short walk to the start and there we gathered and chatted, ready for the run brief.

There were a large number of milestone shirts in attendance, as event director Julie Collard gave the run brief I could see six green 250 shirts in a close bunch.

As you stand on the start you can see Lydiard’s old home, I wonder if its occupants will gravitate towards parkrun themselves.

The start

The run starts in Owairaka Park, you quickly run over Oakley Creek and turn to your right. The run follows the creek, you run over Te Whitinga bridge over State Highway 20 and past the entrance to the Waterview Tunnel.

There are four parks that form this parkrun course – Owairaka Park, Underwood Park, Kukuwai Park and Alan Wood Reserve Park. The path takes you from one to the next with ease.

It was a hot and humid morning and with little shade this is going to be a hot run over summer. However, the restoration work along the creek and the bridge, make this a parkrun not to be missed.

I was a little dubious of the out and back in two directions, but I needn’t have been too bothered. I’m not a huge fan of running past the finish when I still have a kilometre or so to go.

At Owairaka you run past the bridge to the finish, but like Gisborne and Whanganui Riverbank, it’s not too much of an add on.

Rookie mistake

I made the rookie error of not starting my watch at the start. It was only when I was some 700m in that I realised. So on completion of my parkrun I went back onto the course so my watch would show 5km.

Yes, I know I would have received an official result, however it was for my personal record-keeping (and a cumulative run challenge I’m participating in).

Going back on the course meant I saw other people still enjoying their parkrun.

With it being an inaugural, and nearest neighbour Western Springs cancelled, there was a bumper parkrun attendance of 209. It will be interesting to see how Owairaka parkrun grows as an event in its own right.

The aftermath

There was a lot of hanging around at the finish finding out how others got on. There were also cakes to celebrate two milestones of the day.

The parkrun cafe is L’Oeuf, about 500m along Owairaka Ave. You can leave your car at parkrun and walk to the cafe, which is what several of us did.

Even though I was eyeing up the Sticky Toffee Cake (next time!), with a name like L’Oeuf I couldn’t skip past having bacon and eggs. The service was prompt given how busy we’d suddenly made the cafe and they brought over a carafe of water and glasses without us asking, which was welcomed.

Eggs and bacon

I ordered the Chai Latte, my usual post parkrun hot drink of choice. It had a bit too much cinnamon, so next time I’ll order coffee, which I hear was excellent.

Highly recommend

I had a great time at Owairaka parkrun’s inaugural event. It was only my third inaugural of my parkrun life (one I was run director at and the other was Tauranga) so I don’t have much experience to compare it to.

However, with 150 parkruns now to my name and this being my 52nd event, I can state that it was a parkrun to remember.

If you are heading to Auckland and not sure what parkrun to attend, choose Owairaka if you want to run where Olympic champions have trained.

3 replies on “The inaugural Owairaka parkrun”

Yay, what an awesome write up! Thanks so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the day and congrats on the 150. I have just one small note – John Walker did not actually run for Owairaka Athletics Club, but his coach, Arch Jelley, was from there. Arthur Lydiard’s most famous athletes were Peter Snell and Murray Halberg, among others. Next time you’re in Auckland I’ll have to show you the memorabilia our club rooms, about 1km from the parkrun, to make it all clear! 🙂

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