Sunday, 17 February 2013

Round the Bays 2013

It was a big day in Wellington today as 13500+ people turned out for Round the Bays. This annual event plots a scenic ~6.6 km route from Frank Kitts Park in town to Kilbirnie Park, with every type of runner and walker imaginable joining in. I last did Round the Bays in 2009. This year, I put together a work team and actually managed some training in advance. Kind of. I went out for a number of 6-7 km walks during the past few months and built up to a pace where I was on track to complete Round the Bays in less than 1 hour.

This morning, the Twitterverse was abuzz and every third person on Facebook was heading to the start line, yet I saw very few people I actually knew at the event. After a brief splash of rain this morning, the overcast conditions during the race were a blessing and the weather remained dry. The countdown was on and the cannon announced the start; runners first and then the 'wave' of walkers and joggers.

The next hour passed remarkably quickly. (Good company certainly helped.) Outside the Chaffers markets, a woman found out first hand that trying to cross through a race course while leading a dog on a leash was not going to make her popular. Cheerleaders in all shapes and forms called out support at various points. There was a jazz band on a balcony around one of the bays and house parties blasted 'motivational' music from their lounges - all very much appreciated!

I checked the time at around the 6 km mark and realised that we wouldn't make it before the hour was up, but there was very little space in the crowd. We looked for a gap as we approached Kilbirnie Park and decided to run the rest of the way, dodging as many racing obstacles as we could. Yes, I ran ~300m. It wasn't pretty but we got over the finish line in approximately 1 hour and 4 minutes - longer than my target of less than 1 hour but still reasonably respectable for a walker. I have never been so pleased to see a banana and a bottle of water!

I underestimated how much time and effort it would take to negotiate my way around couples holding hands, baby buggies and kids on scooters stopping to do jumps over cats eyes in the middle of the road. The same applied to the bottleneck at the end - something to remember next time.

I was disappointed that there wasn't enough 3G coverage at Kilbirnie Park for MapMyWalk to do its job and had to wait until I got back into town to tweet my result. Checking later, I could see that my time was recorded but unfortunately the map wasn't created. I might see if anyone else managed to create the map and add it to my workout list, as it would be great to have it recorded on the app.

Even as a humble walker, it's an amazing feeling to be part of an event like this. I'd encourage anyone and everyone to enter next year. The course is flat and scenic, making it hugely accessible for all fitness levels. Bring on 2014!

1 comment:

Ness said...

Woohoo. Congratulations, you did really well!

I did my first Auckland Round the Bays last year and was surprised just how hard it was to get around the numerous amount of people. The next one is in about 2 weeks!


Super proud of you.