My first parkrun on the other side of the world was Western Springs in Auckland and I came last !!!!! It’s the first time I’ve ever actually run a parkrun “properly” and come last, I have been last as a tail runner or when walking with friends but never on my own. I finished in 39:52 which is pretty reasonable time for me.
The Start Line
Western Springs is a large park next to Auckland Zoo which made it quite unique. It starts next to the zoo car park and some of it is along the perimeter of the zoo, the Africa zone is on the other side, a little fact that I forgot until the lions gave me a reminder.
The course is a three lap course so you are never really far away from the start line, as I got part way around the first lap I heard a noise that I had never heard before at a parkrun. I got closer to the end of the first lap and the noise got louder and louder, was it really what I thought it was ? Yes, it was the lions in the zoo. I like to think that they were cheering me on but they were more likely to have been calling for their breakfast.
In the centre of the park there is a lake and lakes mean water birds, lots and lots of water birds. Birds mean poo, all over the path. Who knew that swans did poos as big as dog poo ? There was tons of it. I wonder if it makes good fertiliser.
The birdsThe lake
There were also some other fitness freaks using the park. There was some sort of boot camp going on, it finished before I did (no surprise there then) and as they were leaving they paused to give a bit of encouragement to the runners. The kids playing on the park also had a little cheer.
Before the start I was chatting to a very welcoming “local” called Adam, he lived close by but was originally from England. He invited me to join him and his friends for coffee. His friends were a dad and two kids from Sweden.
These Kiwis are very honest with their description of the effects of coffee.
The best bit was being the first Laker home, the time difference meant that I actually finished parkrun 12 hours before everyone in England had even started.
Not looking too bad for early on a Saturday morning.