Stride for Syria

Date: 2 July 2017
Distance: 7.6km (+4km)
Time: 47:31 (30:00)

A week out from our half marathon, we had to fit in a last “cutback long-run” and decided to throw the Palmerston North Boys High School and Palmerston North Girls High School’s event into the mix.

The Stride for Syria intended to raise funds for the Syrian Refugee Crisis. It is labeled as “the most urgent humanitarian crisis of our time” after six years of ongoing fighting and conflict in Syria. According to the brochure that was handed out at the event, 470 000 people have been killed, and more than 4.8 million have fled the country, while 6.1 million have been displaced. That is nearly three times the population of New Zealand that is either dead, misplaced or having to flee for their lives.

So, PNBHS World Vision decided to host a running/walking event, with help from the Manawatu Striders, to raise some funds for the Syrian crisis. (If you wish to make a donation, visit the NZ World Vision website.)

We arrived at about 9am to register and quickly go for a 4km trot before the actual event started at 10am. Going upstream, we ran 2km along the Bridle Track before turning around and running the 2km back. On the way out, we ran into Glen W, whom we had only known from Instagram. Nice to finally meet in person. Although it was quite cold, it was a windless, calm day with little pockets of sun still shining through the clouds early on. Back at the club rooms, we had time for a quick catch up, a sip of water and a trip to the loo. It was great to also finally meet Christine T in person – another online friend.

The school boys and girls did a good job of handling the formalities with guidance from the Manawatu Striders. Starting at the club rooms, the course followed the routes of other Striders events. The first bit is partially on the Super 7s course until you reach the river where you turn right to follow the marathon course downstream, around Waitoetoe Park and back the same way to the club rooms. These are trails we know very well, but it was still an enjoyable run away from the roads, through parks and next to the river.

With an entry fee of only $5, which included a sausage sizzle and banana at the finish, I’m surprised at the very small field of participants. One would have thought that at least both the schools’ students and their parents should have known about it, and made the effort?

Be that as it may, I’m pleased to have managed another run without much pain. Now to see how things will go at the half marathon in a week’s time.

#5 Manawatu Striders inaugural marathon

Date: 29 May 2016
Distance: 42.2km
Time: 4:38.44

A few years ago, Gerry and I did an unsupported, 800km in 26 days walk through the Klein Karoo in the southern parts of South Africa, covering roughly 30+km every day. Day after day, we’d get up before sunrise, walk the whole day, sometimes up to 54km and other times until after dark, before cooking dinner, washing our only other set of clothes, going to sleep, to repeat it all the next day. We carried a tent, sleeping bags, a small camping stove, one set of extra clothes, including warm clothing and some basic emergency food and health care. For the rest, we bought food as we went, so had to be sure to make it to the next town in time to buy supplies. It was challenging at times (I suffered from severe blisters, we were sunburned despite thick slathers of sunblock, and sometimes had to endure temperatures of up to 45 degrees Celsius), but it was also great to spend each day all day long outside and being exposed to whatever nature throws at you – rain, wind, baking hot sun etc. And as the days got shorter during that Autumn month and our trip nearer the end, we were filled with mixed emotions. It was such a huge life changing experience which we didn’t want to end, but at the same time we were getting a bit tired of the mundane task, having to repeat everything each day for days on end. With the only change being the scenery, meeting new people along the way and the sun rising later and setting earlier each day. Continue reading

#4 – Lords of the Ring – Massey 21 Circuit Marathon

Date: 22 May 2016

Distance: 42.2km

Time: 4:57.38

And just like that, it was winter. When Gerry and I woke up to get ourselves sorted and head over to Massey to do the set up for our run, it was three degrees Celcius. When we started at 8am, is was only five degrees and at the warmest point during the day, the temperature reached 13 degrees. As luck would have it, this day also marked the start of the first snowfall in our region. Continue reading

The 5-in-5-in-5 Challenge

Many running books I’ve read talk about being passionate about running. How you can only be a dedicated, committed runner if you love running. And while I do love the idea of running and everything it represents, and without fail feel better after a run than before it, I must admit that I often have difficulty getting myself ready and out the door for a run. Once I’m out there, it’s great, but beforehand I often simply don’t feel up to it, and would much rather be doing something else. Continue reading

Manawatu Striders Half Marathon, Palmerston North

Date: 9 August 2015

Distance: 21.1km

Time: 1:40:46 (Gerry); 2:21:42 (Wouna)

If you do any significant amount of distance training, you invariably end up running out of new routes in your region. And most likely, to simplify your daily routine, you end up regularly re-running the same routes day after day. In our case, our daily runs usually include Massey University and/or the Bridle Track along the Manawatu River.

As a result, lining up at the start line of the Manawatu Striders Half Marathon which covers, you guessed it, Massey University and the Bridle Track, I was not exactly breathless with anticipation about the course. Which is not to say that it is not a nice route – we just get so used to it that we forget that it’s actually quite special. Spoiled ay? On the bright side, I was aiming to improve on my time from last year, so that will keep things interesting. Continue reading

In it for the long haul – Manawatu Striders Winter Series

Date: 26 July 2015

Distance: 15km

Time: 1:39

The weekend long-run is probably the most important item in your weekly schedule on your way to fitness. Without the long-run, your endurance will not improve. Especially for okes like us who like to go far and long.

Not wanting to miss out on the Manawatu Strider’s Winter Series 15km event (which was too short for our build-up to the Taupo marathon), our only option was to fit in another few kilometres before the start of the Striders’ event. Wanting to cover about 30km, we could either do the course twice, or just do our own thing on a different path. We opted for the latter, and at about 7:30 in the morning we started out from the race start-and-finish area, heading out west through the Esplanade, past the swimming pool, turning onto the Bridle track at the Holiday Park, and ran all the way to the far end of the track and back to where we started. From the Holiday Park to the end of the track is 7.5km, so out and back is a nice 15km run. Continue reading

Manawatu Striders Super Sevens 2015

 

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For the front runners, the Super Sevens course starts with a sprint over the sports field to get to the narrow path through the Esplanade before it gets congested.

The Striders are clearly doing something right when it comes to their start-of-the-year Super Sevens Series. Year after year I am amazed at the number of people turning up each Tuesday night to run or walk the 7km (or 3km) course along the Manawatu River, through the streets of Hokowhitu and back through the Esplanade. It’s a very scenic little course – probably one of the reasons the series is so popular. The Super Sevens really is a huge celebration of summer, good times and general physical wellbeing here in Palmerston North. Continue reading