Run Report

Trentham Memorial parkrun recap

Trying to run at each New Zealand parkrun during a pandemic poses even more of a challenge than in normal times.

When I eventually got to run Trentham Memorial parkrun at its 21st event it wasn’t for lack of trying.

I got wind of this parkrun many months before it officially launched after chatting with event director Allan Hartley for one of my first blogs.

First, the launch date changed by a week. I quickly rebooked flights so I could be sure of visiting at the 6th event (my first Wilson Index gap).

The week before that rescheduled trip all New Zealand events were off.

Everywhere but Auckland plunged into a Level 2 alert – Auckland went to Level 3.

So I cancelled my flight.

Getting there

After consulting with NZ countryman Liz Neill (who had kindly offered to be my host) I rebooked again. This time for July and without consulting my Wilson Index, I just wanted to get there!

Then 10 days or so before my planned trip, there was a Covid case in Wellington. All Greater Wellington and Wairarapa events were on pause for a week.

I had my fingers crossed for a lifting of restrictions and thankfully that happened. So on Friday July 2 I set off from Rotorua airport to Wellington.

Due to work commitments and the launch of Sherwood Reserve parkrun I had a change in host, Stu and Heather Leslie.

Stu was run director this event so I didn’t have to worry about how to get there or arriving late.

When we rose on Saturday it’s fair to say it was one of the coldest days I’ve ever parkrun. My phone weather app said it was 1C but it sure felt colder while Stu and the team set up.

Running the course

Trentham Memorial is best described as a lollipop course.

You start on one side of the lollipop (the footpath beside Barton’s Bush). Run down its stick (Hutt River path), turn around and come back. Then you then go around the other side of Barton’s Bush (and through it for a short section).

The finish is back where you started.

There were a few patches of ice on the path and plenty of frost on the grass.

Most runners were well wrapped up against the cold (including yours truly) but some hardy runners were in shorts and t-shirt.

I like to stop and take photos along the course when I’m visiting for the first time and this run was no exception.

However, taking gloves off and not being able to feel the tips of my fingers made it a challenge.

There’s a section of course beside the river that will likely be out of action soon.

Due to recent rapid erosion of late. The orange fence that keeps pedestrians away from danger is now midway along the path.

For this event – and for future events until an alternate course is brought in, there’s no buggies allowed (simply not enough room).

Small but perfect

It was a small field, just 56 finishers, but in among them a new age category record for first female finisher Michele Allison.

The first finisher was gunning for a course record but fell 12 seconds shy.

With a small field I found myself running alone for almost all the run (aside from on the out-and-back section).

That gave me a challenge to try to catch the group ahead of me. Alas I couldn’t reach them, but it was certainly a good work out.

After we’d all packed up it was over to The Fig Tree Café, the official post-parkrun hangout.

There I enjoyed a cheese omelette with a side of sausage and hash brown, plus a flat white. And a date and caramel scone to take away for afternoon tea.

It’s a great-sized café and we took over a large table.

Eventually, once results were processed, breakfasts eaten and stories shared, it was time to go.

While in Upper Hutt Stu and Heather took me to visit Rivendell in Kaitoke Regional Park. Wa also walked to Birchville Dam.

It was a great trip and I’m so glad I got to enjoy it, even if it was freezing!

2 replies on “Trentham Memorial parkrun recap”

Great read Alison… I really enjoy their course.. it’s such a shame erosion has other ideas…I talked to mark and they have some good ideas for an alternative to avoid that area… it’ll warrant another trip ????

Heather ran the alternate course after parkrun. It was a source of much discussion while I stayed with her and Stu (we also debated other options!). I’m sure it will be a high hit.

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