March 2021 Newsletter

Graham Sampson

After 35 years Graham and Sheila Sampson will be returning to the UK in May. Mo and Persephone organised a celebratory dinner at the Spruce Goose for them. There were some old faces present and the speeches kept going for an hour. Not everyone knows that our silver tongued Brummie is extremely literate and has vast musical knowledge. However everyone will know that despite being a type I diabetic Graham has run many long trails and is always willing to help other people.
We will miss him.

A brief interview with Graham Sampson:
Q. What is your favourite route in Wellington?
A. Anywhere around Makara Peak. Over the years I’ve done all of those trails.
Q. Can you tell us about your most memorable run?
A. One winter in the 2000’s I did the St James Walkway in Lewis Pass. It was incredible running through snow up to my kneecaps.

Q. What is a book that you’ve recently enjoyed?
A. A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn

Q. We know you have a really large number of albums, which is your favourite?
A. Neil Young [no surprises there 😉] with After the Goldrush. That was the second record I ever bought. It was released in 1970, which was an amazing year for music.

From the President

You may have heard this already – I am moving to Nelson in April. It’s mostly for family reasons but there is also a new job opportunity. I’ll really miss WMC. One of the hardest things was telling the committee and members that I was leaving. To avoid any constitutional issues I will remain President for the remainder of the year, but I’ll only be able to do things by remote control. The Committee (Sean, Liz and Julie are the named Officers), is an excellent one and will actually run things from April. I’m sorry if this means you have to listen to more of Gordy’s jokes.

I will be back in Wellington for the WUU2K and major WMC events: Club Dinner, Andy McNeill, AGM.


What’s coming up

Open Day is 28th March.

Not much is planned for April because of Easter and ANZAC day, though the Rotorua people will be training for the 8th of May

John and Maryanne Palmer at BULLER GORGE 13th FEBRUARY 2021

For the past 29 years Maryanne and I have made the annual pilgrimage to Westport to take part in the Buller Gorge Marathon weekend. Over the years we have competed in the full marathon, half marathon and in the latter years as part of a team doing the marathon relay. This year a new race director had taken over the organising of the event weekend and had introduced the Buller Heritage 10km. So Maryanne and I decided to do the 10km this year.

The Heritage 10km was run on the new Kawatiri Coastal Trail which consists of a 2.2 metre wide flat gravel path, timber boardwalks and timber bridges – one being a swing bridge which was interesting to cross as there was plenty of movement with the number of runners and walkers on the bridge. I, along with a large number of competitors, had to walk across the swing bridge as it was too difficult to try and run with the sideways movement of the bridge. We were told at the start that there would be marshals at the swing bridge who would only allow 10 people on at a time for safety reasons but this didn’t happen as the marshals just stood there and didn’t  control numbers. The turn-around was at a Maori Whare out by the estuary where the drink station was set up. You then retraced your steps back to the Buller Bridge picnic area and then along Palmerston Street in Westport and down the finishing chute to finish. At present the path only goes to Carters Beach where they are currently working on it and eventually, once completed, it will go right through to Charleston.

The start of the 10km is about 1.5km from the finish area and is within easy walking distance though some people did drive down to the start. The start time was 11am which was starting to get warm at that stage and we did speak with one of the organisers and suggested that an earlier start time would be preferable. There was also talk about taking people out in buses and having them run and walk the 10km back to Westport as they do with the marathon and half marathons. We did inform them that the out and back as trialled this year was really great and that would be our preferred option as it was awesome to be coming back and seeing the other competitors going out and being able to offer encouragement. Other people also said they preferred the out and back option when talking to the organisers.

The Buller Gorge marathon and half marathon are great events and it is certainly unique where you are bused out to the start of both events and then you have to run back to Westport. The only trouble with waiting for the start is that you get attacked by the notorious wee beasty (sandflies) who prey on the unsuspecting runners and walkers. It is quite scenic running through the Buller Gorge and a good majority of the run is beside the Buller River though you don’t always have time to view the scenery.

Also running the half marathon this year from the WMC was Liz Morrison who was pleased with her finishing time of 2:27. I managed to run 1:09 for the 10km and Maryanne walked the 10km in 1:19. As having competed in this event over many years I can say that it is well organised and a great weekend away – the only drawback being is that Westport can be difficult and expensive to get too. I highly recommend the trip and the races though. Next year’s event is set to take place on Saturday 12th February 2022.

John Palmer

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