Date: 19 March
Distance: 21.1 (21.5km with our GPS)
As we drove up from Palmy for this event, I was counting my lucky stars that the weather was really good. Warm. Yet again. At last year’s event, the temperature was a bit cooler but still great. This year was just perfect for me, but I suspect at 20 degrees Celsius it was a bit on the hot side for most other participants.
I was really looking forward to this event as it would be my first official half marathon in quite a long time. In fact, the previous one was the Hatuma Lime half in August 2015! Mind you, we did the Ruapehu Express, which was supposed to be a half marathon, but turned out to be only about 19km. And it was also a trail run, which is a different ball game to road/off-road running. Apart from that we’ve done two longer events in-between, and a 20km training long-run, but in terms of half marathon events, we’ve had a bit of a dry spell.
I’ve mentioned this last year and will say it again – the Taihape half marathon is a very beautiful and scenic event. Running on country roads a few kilometres out of town, through farmland in absolute tranquility is just heaven on earth. Although quite hilly, it only serves to enhance the views of the rolling hills and lovely valleys of the Rangitikei District.
This is another one of those dual terrain-type events. Quite a few of these have popped up around the country and suits me just perfectly. But then again, I do like both road and trail running. Whether it’s a 24 hour around a track, or a multi-day trail event, it’s all equally enjoyable to me! So long as there’s running/walking involved, I’m happy, no matter what form or shape it takes :-). The first approximately 7.2kms is run on tarmac, the next 13km is on shingles and farm roads (so really only off-road and not actually a trail) and the final 1.2km back to the finish is along the same sealed road that you start off with. The 3km out-and-back stretch, between 12 and 15km, makes for some social banter with friends coming from the front while the last 5km from 17km to the finish is on the same course as the 10km runners/walkers. We did manage to pass a few walkers on this stretch, so it didn’t feel so lonely out on the course.
We stayed for prize-giving again (which I will think about twice before doing again) in the scorching sun, unaware that there was a list of spot prizes up on the wall against a shed. Luckily a few gazebos provided shelter while CANSA provided sunscreen. Hanging out with some friends, and enjoying the food and drinks at the finish, was a great way to spent a Saturday morning out. Each participant also received a small bottle of Lindauer bubbly that we put to good use a few days later.
This event is well worth the effort and I’m happy to report that the number of participants in the half marathon has increased quite a bit since last year. If you have ever thought about doing this but haven’t got around to, just do it next year. You won’t be sorry.