Friday, September 16, 2011

My Bubble: No Tipsy Run For Lo Kong In Wine Country

Having completed the North Shore Marathon, we began our campervan exploration the very next day with a plentiful intention to round the whole North Island. Whatever was the plan, we must however ensure to touch base within 4 days at Havelock North, a suburb in Hastings in the North Island's Hawke's Bay region, located some 20km inland from the neighboring port city of Napier.

Havelock North is generally hilly, being at the foothills of Te Mata Peak and it is one of New Zealand's most important wine regions. The town's industry is based around its fruits and wine production. In fact, this is where I had my very first encounter with a real grapefruit tree, found abundant at the Arataki Motels & Holiday Park where we camped for a night. In fact, the owner invited me to take as much as I wanted as he said no one was interested in eating them. Unfortunately, I couldn't pluck the whole tree ... the extra baggage at NZ$25/kg charged by Jetstar would have been too costly!

Lo kong had signed up for a half-marathon in the Hawke's Bay Run Walk Marathon, held at Guthrie Park and we collected the race kit the same evening we arrived. Good for me and unfortunately not so good for lo kong, the weather was much colder than during his earlier marathon in Takapuna. I even noticed frost on the grass at our camper site in the morning. Grrrrrr!!!

In New Zealand, they encouraged both running and walking marathon. The full walking marathon was flagged off at 7.30am followed by the full running marathon at 8.30am. Lo kong's half marathon run and the half-marathon walk were flagged off only at 10.00am. The running route had even passed by our camper site and we got to see the full marathoners running pass our front door, so to say.

Lo kong finished his run in 1hr 45mins but unfortunately the distance covered were only about 19km. The organisers subsequently apologized on their website for their road marshals' mistake of directing the runners away from the correct running route. Anyway, nothing was lost since there wasn't any finisher medals in the first place, just like in the North Shore Marathon.

An apology from the organizers over at their website

Overall, lo kong said he had a very relaxed run although several local runners did give him some challenges as they tried to outrun one another. Although it was wine country, there was no opportunity for a tipsy run here.

After the run, we returned to the camper site to freshen-up and did the necessary dumping before heading towards Hastings for our lunch at Breakers Cafe. Then it was on the road again to our next destination, driving through a 46km serpentine road that threads through valleys and headwalls of the mighty Ruahine Range. By then, we had decided to forego visiting further south to Palmerston North - the Knowledge City where education and research pulsates. Due to the time constraint, Wellington furthest to the south and New Plysmouth on the west coast were also out the chart!


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