Having relocated to NZ a bit more than a year ago, I am still trying to grasp the kiwi accent. For instance, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that the kiwi’s don’t seem to pronounce the letter “t” when it is in the middle of a word. Okey, I realise that it is a gross generalisation, but some examples include: butter becomes “bada”, better becomes “beda”, photo is phodo, water is “whoddah”, tomato is tomado and so on.
So, to my amusement I found it very interesting when overhearing one young lad talking to his mate at around the 8km mark of the run, saying something about the next “wa’rr” stop, letting it almost sound like a “war” stop. 🙂 It is a slight deviation to the more general “whoddah” pronunciation. Could the wa’rr pronunciation (the guttural sound) be more related to the South Island accent?
The quest to figure out the kiwi accent therefore continues, north and south.
We woke on Sunday to an overcast morning, not too cold. Not sure what the weather would bring, I grabbed my raincoat on the way out. MetService predicted some showers. The 120km drive to Waipukurau through the Central Hawke’s Bay was quite pleasant with perfect weather and fairly quiet roads – apart from the odd campervan with supporter flags of various countries who are here for the Rugby World Cup.
Waipukurau Racecourse is the venue for the race, with ample parking and all sorts of facilities. After registration we still had some time to kill while we waited for the race to start at 10:00. This late start time was one of the deciding factors (and off course the fact that it is very reasonably priced!) – we could, without being rushed, get ready and drive all the way without it all having to happen before dusk and in the dark to be in time for an early start.
Shortly before 10:00 we lined up for race briefing, had a quick chat with Marian, also from our neck of the woods and then we were off.
The college kids who are all part of teams of four (where each team member only run approximately 5km) would start with a fart and before their section of the road is finished you might catch up and pass them. But then as the new member starts his/her leg, they are still fresh, again charging for the first couple of kilometres, passing you just so that you might catch them again before the next change-over, and the process would repeat itself until the finish. Off course, I was too slow to catch that many of the college teams and wasn’t tempted or capable to pick up my pace as the fresh kid started on his/her section.
The first couple of hundred metres are run out and back on the Racecourse road as you left the grounds. This is to make up the distance as the rest of the course is a circumference of Lake Hatuma in a very wide clockwise circle. So wide, in fact, that you can hardly see the lake. Twenty-one kilometres is quite far, you know ;-).
I secretly thought I would give the run a go at a speedier pace than what I have been capable off, of late, making it almost a time-trial over the 21.1km. Just to test myself and see what I can do six weeks before the Auckland marathon.
Starting too fast, I knew this would catch up with me later, which it did – I was quite knackered in the last couple of kilometres. I just have to mention that despite my attempt to keep up with the bulk of the field, I was within the first kilometre already amongst the back markers – about 5th from last.
After running a couple of kilometres we could spot Lake Hatuma in a distance and that was also the last sighting of the lake. We trotted along passing some kids who couldn’t keep up their early pace. The weather was holding up and as the sun peeked through it started to warm up nicely. At times it was really hot, but the light breeze turned out to be quite chilly. Could it be the result of the snow covered Ruahine ranges in a distance? The surroundings are picturesque and I have to say that NZ truly is a beautiful country.
Four water stations were en route and they were also the change-over spots for the relay teams, making them quite sociable and jolly.
Between the 10km and 15km mark the fast and flat course turns a bit undulating, but thereafter it was a fairly flat and easy run to the finish. The last couple of kilometres are run through the town of Waipukurau in the main road, before your turn into Racecourse Road again to the finish.
A very nice run in a beautiful area. I managed a 2:07:50, which is close to a 6min pace – something I haven’t been able to achieve in a very long time. It helps to train, just a little :).