Manawatu Striders Super Seven Series – #1 (18 January 2011)

The Manawatu Striders, in association with Vautier Pharmacy, hosts the Super Seven Series. This is a series of 7 events over 7 consecutive weeks (each Tuesday), each 7km long.

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T-shirt, socks and “permanent” number for all 7 events.

After reading the severe weather warnings on the MetService website (amongst others, the after-effect of a Oz tropical cyclone heading our way) we briefly considered doing our daily run before the onslaught of the predicted gusts and rainstorms. The unbearable heat during the “quiet before the storm” period was something else. But apart from the extremely hot and humid temperature, the weather seemed to be holding up and we ended up entering for the whole series of 7 runs, including an event T-shirt, for only $35.

Having done a slow 15km long run the previous day, we though of taking it easy and treating the 7km as a normal easy training run. Hordes of people pitched and this turned out to be the biggest race we’ve done in NZ so far, by far. Estimates are that around 1000 participants normally pitch up each week for these events.

We saw Horny (from HHH) at the start, and after a countdown from Al, we were on our way. The field is divided between runners and walkers, with the runners taking off first and the walkers shortly thereafter. The huge field of runners dashed across the Ongley Park sports field where the race then joins up with the Manawatu Riverside Walkway and Bridle Track. Being in the middle of such a huge field slows down the average pace considerably, since the walkway can only accommodate that many people. After about 500 metres the race turns off the walkway to link up with Centennial Drive, which is closed off for the race. It winds through the suburb, passing amongst others the Hokowhito campus of Massey University and the Manawatu Golf Club on the right, while running next to the Hokowhito Lagoon on the left with it’s thousands of ducks, until you reach Albert Road. Turning right again the race continues up to the car park at which point it joins up with the Manawatu Riverside Walkway again shortly before the 4km mark. By then the runners had spread a bit and the narrow path was not so congested anymore.

The wind and rain were still only looming in a distance and the run back all the way on the walkway, through the Victoria Esplanade and to the Ongley Park sports ground was most enjoyable, except for what felt like, a heatwave. We finished the 7kms in 41:56.

At the finish we were treated to a pair of socks each (courtesy of Vautier Pharmacy – with a note informing you that if you wear the socks in the pharmacy, you will receive a 10% discount on purchases made), a huge banana and a sausage sizzle (a kiwi-style sausage, wrapped in a slice of bread, with tomato sauce).

While we were enjoying all the snacks, many runners and walkers were still finishing. And as we were driving back the wind started to pick up and a sudden bit of cool rain was probably welcomed by a lot of the participants that were still on the road.

This is such a great event and I’m already looking forward to next weeks run!

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