Amanda and Nigel - Saint Clair and Taupo Half Marathons

Nigel and I love our running and I had heard about GetRunning and knowing I needed more coaching and motivation, we got in touch with Gaz and his team.  Wow!  What an awesome experience!  Whenever I do my full/half/or just a fun run, I usually do get a bit wound up and stressed (most of these I have done with friends – now retired or moving on and no longer run with me), however since joining the team I have to say it has made a big turn around for me. 

Both Nigel and I did our first trip down to Blenheim doing the wino run (haha and the wine did flow as soon as the plane landed, we were given bottles of wine) right from the time we met the group we felt relaxed and part of the team.  It was fun right from the get go.  We got to Blenheim and to our motel, which was warm, spacious and definitely a place we will be back to.  We were greeted that evening by Gaz and Kerre McIvor and given our race packs (jackets included).  The next day we were driven by bus to our race start where the team tent was erected.  The race itself was awesome, through the vineyards, and the river was amazing, o and the locals were all out entertaining us along the way, free icecream! 

Really it was a fun run, no pressure – I've never run like this before and it took a while for me to sit back and enjoy the run but once I got the grips of just enjoying the scenery and comradery I actually felt more relaxed in my running.  We finished the run and headed straight to the team tent where wine and celebrations started. OMG what high spirits everybody was in!  Some of the runners were dressed up as super heros!  To cut a long story short we had a fun evening with a visit to the Moa Breweries followed by an entertaining prize giving night at the local hall – I have to say we were pretty exhausted by the end of that evening (O we were also bused to all these events – private bus). 

The next day was breakfast followed by a trip on a boat around the Marlborough Sounds, we had such an fantastic time visiting the new bird sanctuary plus a visit to the mussel and salmon farm which we were treated by fresh mussels and salmon (beautifully bbqed by Kerre McIvor), and not to forget the scenery and the weather was just perfect.  We arrived back to dock where we were bussed back to the airport.  Honestly there was so much else I could have added to this writeup but I just cant fit it all in however we have met some fabulous people and seen some great sights and I have to say that was one of the best trips we have been on.

The Taupo half marathon was another one to tick off our ‘to do’ list.  Nigel and I went down by ourselves but the others came down by bus (I believe there was a great party being had on that bus – haha!).  We were all staying at the Hilton in Taupo, and I have to say that when we arrived the weather was shocking – rain/windy/ and cold, so we were unsure about how we were going to be on raceday.   We all met up for dinner and catchup plus get our racepacks, another fun evening that was, Kerre and Gaz went over the race with us with a bit of a banter between the pair of them over the last hill at the end of the race, so we were nicely prepared for what was ahead (was it a f…. hill or a slight incline?). 

The next day it was as expected (rain,wind, and freezing), and beknown to us that Gaz and the team had got to the start line early to put up the team tent, we arrived by bus to an underwater tent however Gaz was onto clearing it all up for us, at least we had a dry place to put our race bags.  The race got started and we soon warmed up, it was exactly liked Kerre had described it,  and it made things a lot better knowing what we were in for, and I have to say it was a f… hill at the end!  About 14ks into the race our team had a drink station and we were able to offload any jackets etc that we didn’t need (sun was coming out now). 

We finished the race with Gaz and the team congratulating us on finishing (the weather turned us into tough runners), we were then immediately offered any refreshments we wanted (beer, wine, juice, etc etc) following by handmade hamburgers which went down a treat.  Gaz had even erected a changing room so we could get out of our wet clothes and into dry clothes.  Then a massage was needed.  What an amazing way to finish the race! But it wasn’t over, we were back on the bus (after price giving) heading back to the Hilton for a hot spa, then it was dinner ……  some of us partied on and some had to drop Auntys and children off.  I have to say it was another awesome experience, the weather was foul but the GetRunning team pulled out all the stops and made it such an enjoyable event, there was no pressure just fun which made us forget about what we were in for.

We never thought that running these events would be so much fun!  Meeting people that have been with Gaz and the team from the beginning and love doing these events with the team,  one couple said that had done over 30 odd marathons, I asked how do you do it? And she said that its just a matter of walk/run and no pressure to bust a gut to finish, just there to enjoy the moment.  We have the Queenstown half marathon coming up now which we are all excited about, we are even taking our two daughters along with us to do the 10ks – I know they are going to love it!

Amanda Wallace