Skyline Track – Khandallah, Wellington

Date: 5 March
Distance: 7.4km
Time: 1:17

On a work trip to Wellington on the weekend, we were hoping to fit in a semi-long-run of about 15km between work commitments. Our overnight accommodation was in Khandallah and we thought it a good idea to explore the area. Little did I know that a run in this suburb would involve a rather decent hill training session!

Studying the area on Google maps, we noticed Johnsonville and Khandallah Parks and a reserve only a few kilometres from our accommodation, so we decided to head in that direction in the hope of maybe finding a trail to trot along. Starting off on a nice downhill and rounding the corner at the bottom, the first of many hills promptly brought me to a slow walk. Okey, so I’ll just walk this one, I thought to myself, maybe the next hill might be less severe. Ha! No such luck. The hills are plenty and quite steep. How anyone living in Khandallah can step out their door and go for a “run”, is beyond me. It will be a monster of a hill training session every day.

We ended up walking most of the way through the hilly streets until we finally reached the trail. And then walked some more to the summit of Mt Kaukau. We could only manage small stretches of running on the flat areas as well as on the ridge. Despite a strong wind, it felt good to be up there to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Parts were along an Old Coach Road (yet another one!), others on shingle roads and some on single track. The summit is at 445m above sea level and with a 360° view, it was all worth the effort.

We spent some time at the top drinking in the views in all directions before heading across the ridge and down into the bush on a well maintained walking track. At least, the downhill bits were all runnable and by the soreness of my quads the next day, I knew that although our run wasn’t long, it was still a quality session.

I’m curious to know if this bit of the trail will form part of the Wellington Urban Ultra later in the year? Would make for a challenging but beautiful ultra right on the edge of the city.

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