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Oct 2022 Newsletter

In this newsletter:

  1. Annual Dinner – Saturday 5 th November
  2. Next “Bus trip” – provisionally Somes Island/Matiu – Sunday 4 th December
  3. Annual General Meeting (AGM) – Sunday 11 th December
  4. Sunday ASM room supervisor for 2023
  5. Last ASB room booking for 2022 – Sunday 18th December
  6. Dates for 2023 – restart Sunday 15 th January
  7. Rotorua Marathon report – Mikey

1. WRW Annual Dinner

Saturday 5th Novenber

We are pleased to confirm our annual Wellington Runners & Walkers dinner will be
held on the evening of Saturday 5 th November. Thanks to the organising team of Lisa,
Bice and Maryse!

The dinner will be held at the Brentwood Hotel, 16 Kemp St, Kilbirnie, starting at
6pm and finishing by 10pm. Smart casual dress. Let us know if you have specific
dietary requirements. The team has arranged menu options with the Brentwood which
we hope will suit all. Some musical entertainment has been offered by Brian Hayes.

The cost for the evening is $32 per person for members, and $57 per person for non-
members (i.e., members subsidised $25 each). To register, please enter your details on
the registration form on the Annual Dinner page and deposit the
amount into the WRW bank account ensuring you include your name and ‘Dinner’.

Drinks from the Brentwood’s will be extra (paid individually) with prices listed on
their Aqua Bar wine and beverage list.

We encourage as many as possible of the club members (present and past) and
partners to join us, for what should be a great evening. Please sign up soon, as that
will help us provide numbers to the Brentwood.
You can register here.

2. Bus Trip Sun 4th Dec

possibly a ferry trip to Somes Island/ Matiu

Thanks again to Sean for continuing to come up with some wonderful destinations
and routes for our running & walking groups on the bus trips! The last trip to Belmont
Regional Park, down the Korokoro Stream to Petone was a lot of fun.

Through the year, Sean has been mentioning the idea of having a trip to Somes
Island/Matiu, so we are aiming to do this for our last trip of the year in December.
The feasibility of this is still being scoped out, partly due to a reduced frequency of
ferries at present, but hopefully the stars will align. Otherwise, a plan B. Once plans
are firmed up, we’ll put a sign-up form on to our website.

3. Annual General Meeting (AGM)

Sunday 11 Dec

The AGM is planned for the end of the year as usual. As the WRW is your club, it’s
worth thinking about what you’d like to see the club WRW doing. Thanks to all those
who contribute in different ways, such as leading running & walking groups,
providing newsletter items, organising events and with skills that help the club.

i. Turkey Trot
The plan is for a 5km course, competing again to see which walker & runner can
most accurately estimate their time without a watch. Gordy is working on the
route. The politically correct prizes may be supermarket gift cards, rather than an
actual turkey.

ii. Request for any Motions
Please send any request for a motion to be included in the agenda to the
committee by 20 th November (required at least 21 days before the AGM, in our
Charter & Rules). A message through the Contact Us website form should reach
us in the first instance. Or you can also raise General Business at the AGM itself.

iii. Nomination & election of committee members
The WRW committee would very much welcome new committee members and
encourages nominations before or during the AGM. The secretary position has
been vacant during 2022 and filling this role would be very helpful.
Also, if there is a particular skill or event with which you might be willing to help,
please let us know, e.g., as the team organising the annual dinner.

iv. Trophies
Gordy is again organising the cups and trophies this year. Please let him know of
any events you’ve completed over the past year, or achievements of other
members who you think should be considered. While there have been fewer
events over the last year due to COVID-19, it’s still important to celebrate what
members have done, to inspire us for the coming year.

4. ASB Room Supervision

on Sunday mornings for 2023

During this year, we’ve been hugely appreciative of Caitlin McCabe, who has
supervised the ASB room while members have been away for their walks and runs.
Knowing that everyone’s gear, car-keys etc are safe has made the enjoyment of
Sunday mornings possible. Also putting out the welcome juice and biscuits for when
people return. We wish Caitlin all the best for university next year and look forward
to hearing – after all the Lv3-NCEA study on Sunday mornings.

The committee would appreciate any nominations or suggestions for a new Sunday
morning supervisor for 2023. Anticipate this being a good role for a teenager again.
Potentially could attend one Sunday during 2022 for Caitlin to orientate. Thanks for
the one or two suggestions so far.

5. Last ASB Room Booking for 2022

Sunday 18 December

Our last day for this year for Sunday meeting in the ASB room is planned to be 18 th
December, which is the weekend after the AGM. Of course, this doesn’t preclude
members from organising to meet up for runs and walks over the Christmas & New-
Year period, just that we won’t have the room booked again until mid-January.

6. Dates for 2023

For Sunday mornings at the ASB, our last day for 2023 is planned to be 15 th January.
The last day for 2023 provisionally will be 17 th December.

7. Rotorua Marathon Report

Mikey Clarke

The first thing you need to understand about this year’s events affecting my marathon running time is that Gordy is considered by the entire world and everyone in it, including proudly him, the crankiest and most stubborn bastard in the universe. There is no running-route obstacle he won’t barge through in sheer bloody-mindedness at the cost of cracked ribs; no injury he won’t amplify until necessity necessitates, in his words, “knee-bras”; no pathogen he won’t battle until he hits the muscle-fatigue of five thousand pushups. 

What, you may ask, the hell am I talking about? Read on.

Getting seriously marathon-fit takes months. Even if you can already bang out a 2hr+-run. I’ve run the Rotorua Marathon four times now, and all four times, Gordy had thrown together a months-long running training regimen, kicking off with boosting our standard Sunday runs up to three hours, and culminating in several classic hellscape-routes: including the 35km Makara loop with its horrible friggin’ mountain-pass right at the end after we’re already exhausted; and the Petone-return loop, where the diligent athlete may huff bonus lungfuls of car exhausts. Proper serious grinding.

Then Gordy decided it’d be hilarious to take a five-metre detour through the thickest flax-bush thicket you ever did see, next to the ASB Centre, in an attempt to shave three seconds off a two-hour run. I took the long route around it, waited for him to reappear on the other side … waited … waited … and he eventually hobbled free, clutching his chest and bluing the air in his soothing invective signature style.

Turns out he’d slipped on a flax leaf and bellyflopped the ground and bruised a rib. Even breathing proved bloody horrible, let alone actual aerobic activity. Group Marathon Training Impediment #1.

A month or so later, he’d recovered and our pack were hitting the business end of another run, moseying along as normal, all was dandy, whereupon his right knee produced a pop louder than I’d believed a human skeletal joint could ever produce. And I can crack my own knuckles, elbows, sternum, aura and perineum. Gordy’s knee-crack made birds fall from the sky. Dogs started howling miles off. I could hear a few civil defence sirens start blaring in Eastbourne. Gordy insisted that his knee wasn’t painful, only uncomfortable, and continued jogging. I couldn’t believe it.

Next week, he turned up wearing a pair of orthopaedic-or-whatever-the-buzzword-is knee-fabric-compressor-bands, and was all too keen to describe them as “knee push-up bras”. Turns out the injury was indeed only minor, but still, better not thrash it. Group Marathon Training Impediment #2.

Then he got Covid. Took two weeks to recover, and coughed 27 million times. Group Marathon Training Impediment #3.

Anyhoo. Our wider group figured, what the hell, we ain’t quitting, let’s train as we can and run our best and damn the haters. I thus personally wasn’t expecting to pace anywhere near my personal-best time of 3:29:56; I’d be happy with anything near 3:45. Let’s see how things go.

Marathon day. Gordy and I arrive at the start line, jostling amongst hundreds of other marathoners. Incidentally, any marathon’s starting line is one hell of an atmosphere. I love it. You’ve got hundreds and hundreds of marathoners all packed into an enclosed space. They’ve trained for months and months. Hundreds of hours of thigh-shattering exertions are culminating at this moment. The anticipation is volcanic. You can cut the tension with a spoon. The start gun has yet to fire. We’re all just waiting. Our minds are churning as we mentally brace ourselves for the hours of aerobic agony ahead.

At least mine was. I was thinking about a previous training run: The Makara Loop. We’d run it a fortnight earlier. It’s Wellington’s archetypal brutal training loop. At least usually … but this most recent time, I’d honestly not found it that hideous! Sure, muscle fatigue, exhaustion, the usual good stuff … but nowhere near as much as previous years’ attempts.

And this fitter-than-thou mindset seemed to have persisted to Race Day. I felt great. I therefore decided, what the hell, let’s stick with the 3:30 race-pacers until, say, halfway, and then reassess. Sure, I might blow up and be a victim of my own hubris and limp across the finish line at midnight. Or I might not. Only one way to find out.

Race-pacers, by the way, for those who don’t know, are runners employed by the race organisers to maintain a certain pace and complete the event by a certain time. It’s fantastic for newbies. Mentally mapping one’s exertion/effort-sensations to various marathon finishing times takes a ton of experience and mistakes and hilarious agonies. Immense trial and error. Many people don’t bother: far easier to just stick with a pacer.

The starting cannon burst everyones’ eardrums, we all charged over the starting line and past a local kapa-haka group’s sonorous waiata-ing, then threaded through Rotorua, out into the lake countryside, through towns and villages, past the bagpipes groups tootling away, and around Lake Rotorua. Beautiful.

I got chatting with one of the 3:30 pacers. He, along with every other pacer I’d laid eyes on, has not only a sheet of A4 paper with their pacing-time printed and pinned to their running singlet, but also, two or three brightly coloured balloons tied to singlet or cap (or hairdo, for a few) and bobbing behind them, so’s everyone else can identify who is and isn’t a pacer. I suppose it makes things easier when your legs are exploding and your lungs are volcano-ing and you can barely remember your own name, let alone which other runners you should be keeping up with. The balloons and their strings struck me as Chinese water torture: sure, the first five million gentle jerks to the back of one’s head could be ignored, but the second five million would drive one nuts. Surely?

I asked him. Turns out no, he didn’t even notice it. Well I’ll be. I told him that I’d very much like to also trail balloons behind me, but with NOT A PACER – I JUST LIKE BALLOONS printed across them. He laughed, we chatted further, and at length he invited me to apply to be a pacer in future events.

Not a bad idea! But at that point we hit 21.1km. Halfway.

Reassess-time. Maintain my 3:30 hubris-pace? Throttle back and be sensible?

Quite honestly, at that point, my legs felt a tiny bit rubbery … but that was all. What the hell. Go big or go home, yeah? I sped up.

The remainder of the marathon was an ever-increasing escalation of aerobic agony. 30km came and went without too much trouble. 35km and beyond, however, paid homage to some serious shit. By this point I was trying to get every last speck of oxygen to my muscles I possibly could, and thus huffing like an asthmatic volcano. The locals lining the route must have thought I sounded like a demented locomotive. I found myself playing cat-and-mouse with a few other runners, and we tried to take our minds off each others’ muscular tortures by overtaking one another in endless leapfrogging.

The 40km mark came and went, the finish line hove into view. Three things crowded my mind: (1) holy crap agony aaaaah; (2) oh look the finish, the agony will cease; and (3) let’s get some really really wacky photos.

Re (3): for those who don’t know, there’s a company,, which sends out photographers to marathon events, takes allegedly top-quality photos of the athletes along the route, then offers to sell these photos to all, from their website. Here’s their page of my 2021 photos:

Oh sure, not bad … but, last time, I found myself wishing I’d pulled some sillier faces. Something more vigorous and wacky, you know? Especially whilst crossing the finish line, theoretically triumphant at smashing the course once again.

Though oh dear god. Turns out maintaining that kind of goofy, light-hearted mindset Does Not Mix with the hideous tortures one experiences in the last kilometre of a really brutal marathon. Judge for yourself: As you can see, I could barely crack a smile, let alone flollop my tongue like an extra-slobbery spaniel as planned. Take a peek at that photo with the medal around my neck. It happened ten seconds after finishing. I can remember it right now. I genuinely thought I was grinning. I was not.

But the finishing time? Not bad! 3:26:09. Nineteen minutes faster than I’d thought. I guzzled only a few kegs of locally-provided Powerade or whatever, then limped incredibly slowly back to my hotel. At one point on the journey yonder I tried to see if I could resume jogging even quite slowly, and every muscle in my lower body tried to murder the rest of me at once.

And I got a spot prize! Turns out it’s a free go on the Rotorua gondola and luge. And it expires in six months. Way back when I was a uni student, I got cold-called by a salesbloke purporting to sell Wellington-business-based coupon books, with a total value of well over $10,000, which he’d happily sell to an allegedly shrewd gent like moi for the low low price of $160. I figured, what the hell, paid, received it in the mail some days later. Yes, technically this coupon book contains ten-grand-plus of coupon value … but … they’re all along the lines of “Buy 272 Jumbo Steaks From Jimbo McSweeney’s Leprosy Smelter And Get the 273rd At Half Price! Offer Ends Yesterday!” Ugh. The coupon book contained hundreds. I’d have to restructure my entire life, for years, around this blasted coupon book to extract its value. Same with this gondola-and-luge prize. I don’t wish to look a gift horse in the mouth, but I’d not had pre-arranged plans to mosey back to Rotorua within the next six months.

So I made a first-come-first-served offer on Facebook, and Susan Clare snapped it up in minutes. Problem solved!

2 thoughts on “Oct 2022 Newsletter”

  1. Ata marie thanks for the newsletter xxx and Mikey thank you. Your report was fun to read xxx thanks!

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