Saying goodbye to Wellington
Gravel, hills and concrete - a farewell tour on foot
In November I ran a total of 100km.
It’s not the first time I’ve hit that distance across a month - but it is the first time for 2022 and it is by far the most meaningful 100km. These were the final steps as a resident of the place I have called home for nearly twenty years.
Next week, my family are moving to a place where instead of seam sealed jackets, beanies and polyprop gloves, I’ll need sunscreen, shades and singlets. The mighty Bay of Plenty awaits, as do new adventures.
E noho rā Pōneke
In 2004 my wife and I packed up her Toyota Corrola and made the four hour drive from Napier to 145e Ghuznee Street, Wellington - our home base for the first six months of our time in Wellington.
That flat was the beginning of a romance with a City that has shaped us more than we’ll ever know.
That first flat was an eye opener, introducing us to new people who didn’t just wear Canterbury shorts and drink Tui, but who dressed in black, created music and smashed way too many drugs. It was our home base for a bit, and where we met people who we now consider an absolute part of our family.
Nearly twenty years later, a few shitty flats, a lot of great times, new friends and countless coffee, it’s time to jog on.
Running towards the sun
Once the house was sold, another one was bought, and the packers called in, it all started to become a bit too real. Made sense to channel that and start training for the Tawawera Ultra Marathon 21km - which will now be basically my home trail ultra! Win.
As I wrote in October, the training progress had stalled, thanks in part to illness, stress and the Aeropress champs, but now I had something to run for - I had to see as much of this great place as I could, before it was too late.
I left the watch in the pocket and just ran for fun - for the first time in a long time.
I looked at beaches, the bush and the city, instead of average pace, distance and time. I ran knowing that each run was the last one on that peice of road, up that hill traversed a million times. The last time I’d see that breathtaking view.
Getting amongst it
The November training missions took me on a jog down memory lane.
I ran along the windsweept beaches at Days Bay, Eastbourne, and Oriental Bay where I’d ice off in the water that reminded me why wetsuits were invented.
I had my arse handed to me as I trudged up Belmont Trig, Te Whiti Riser and Mt Victoria for those picture postcard views.
The monotomy of familiarity kicked in as I ran to Point Jerningham, Waterloo Station and around Avalon Park, where you could turn your mind off for those midweek rythm runs.
Most meaningfuly, it took me along the mighty Hutt River Trail, a jewel that we don’t give enough credit to and along the river that I had spent countless hours kayaking (mainly swimming), spinning the yarns and having the bestest of all times with my Wellington brothers Craig, Matt and Dan - and others who we sucessfully introduced into the sport without drowning them.
I am forever indebted to the Hutt River Swimmers for introducing me to this amazing sport lifestyle. One I’m excited to get my wee ones into, and one that I’m excited to do with some sort of warmth!
100km of memories, fueled by the absolute best coffee I’ve had this year (thanks Trade School Kitchen and Franks), creating new memories along the way.
New roads, new hills, new memories
The initial sadness of leaving has been replaced by excitment (which is just spin for fear…). I’m excited for new roads, new hills, new Strava segments, and new coffee.
I’m also excited for not running along beaches, up hills and by rivers being blasted by wind. Endless wind. Wind that always seems to be a head wind for some reason, no matter which direction you’re running, as is the impact of the Wellington geography.
So, to Wellington I say farewell - I look forward to being back often enough to remember why I loved you.
Stay tuned for all the best coffee that the mighty Bay of Plenty has to offer - and thanks to this great community, I’ve been given the good oil on the best.