September Newsletter 2019

From the President

I know I have not been running for some time now, but I have been enjoying the lengthening of the days and the opportunity to get out into the morning air in the light and relative warmth of spring for my morning workouts. It is good to see the adventures and successes enjoyed by our members at various events around the country and internationally – keep up the good work, and keep on posting your results and adventures.

Your committee is working hard to keep supporting your running and walking – please take advantage of the planned bus transport if you are intending to compete in the Remutaka Rail Trail event on Saturday November 9th – see the web page to book a seat. If you are unable
to do so on the internet, please let Meghan know on Sunday morning (she will be able to do your internet entry for you), or ask one of your colleagues to do so for you.

Planning is also underway for our next away Sunday – 17 November – the plan is to run and walk the Skyline. Please also don’t forget to put your entry in for the Andy McNeil Memorial event – entries from our membership are a bit thin. It is a good event to remember Andy and his contribution to our organisation, and it is free.

The WMC name change questionnaire resulted in about 30 responses, with about 2/3 in favour of a name change. The pattern was in favour of a name change across all of the range of length of memberships, and the overarching theme for a new name included identifying with Wellington, Running and Walking. The Committee has agreed that it is therefore appropriate for a motion to be brought to the AGM proposing a name change, and the Committee will work to bring suitable options to the AGM for the membership to vote on. Remember we are proposing to introduce the name and a trading name or alias rather than legally changing the name of our Incorporation. We would anticipate our logo remaining the same to keep the reference to the Wellington Marathon Clinic.

This year’s AGM is likely to be a busy one – I will be standing down as President, and one or two other committee members have expressed a desire to stand down as well. If you are prepared to stand for the committee next year please make sure you let a committee member know.
Enjoy the changing of the season and take advantage of the activities the WMC is offering.

New Member

Welcome to new member Mr Mangu Chhiba who has joined the Clinic as a walker.

Andy McNeill Memorial Run/Walk

After the success of last year’s event we are doing it all over again. Please register for the Andy McNeill Memorial Run/Walk on Sunday 20 October 2019 in memory of Andy. Andy was a long standing member of the clinic who sadly passed away from pancreatic cancer nearly five years ago.

There will be two courses, an 11km and a 6km, both can be run or walked. The start and finish line is at George Denton Park, Highbury. The courses cover some of Wellington’s favourable and iconic trails.

For further information and to register go to
If you require assistance in signing up please see a Committee member.
Please note the ASB room will be unavailable on this day.

Andy McNeill Memorial Run/Walk – Grocery Spot Prize

We are seeking donations of non-perishable items for the grocery spot prizes. If you would like to contribute an item please bring on Sunday mornings. The last day to bring your item will be Sunday 13 October.
Thanking you in advance.

Fem’s Corrective Sessions

Fem’s sessions will commence on Wednesday 2 October, 5:30pm and the first Wednesday of every month thereafter (given there is still demand for these sessions). If you have been thinking about trying out one of Fem’s session there is still room for two more people in Wednesday 2 October session.

Please register here
Corrective Sessions are held at Fem’s studio at 85 Victoria Street, Level 1 in Wellington City, above the Lido Cafe. Refer to

Wellington Marathon Clinic Annual General Meeting

This year’s AGM will be held at the Wellington Indian Cultural Centre, 48 Kemp Street, Kilbirnie on Sunday 15 December, 11am. We will have the ASB room in the morning and head next door for the AGM for refreshments
and the meeting.

Remutaka Rail Trail Run & Walk – Saturday 9 November 2019

Transport to this event will be provided by the Committee. You must sign up to this event at your own cost. If you wish to travel in the transport provided by the Committee please sign up on the form below by Sunday 13 October so we know what size bus to book.

Bus seat registration is now closed.

Remutaka Rail Trail Bus Registration

Seats reserved
Laurence Feehan
Mo Bhikha
Brian Hayes
Alan Brian
Persephone Georgiakakis
Bice Awan
Angelia Beamsley
Lisa cheney

Coming up…

Wednesday 2 October – Fem’s Corrective Session
Sunday 20 October – Andy McNeill Memorial Run & Walk Event
Wednesday 6 November – Fem’s Corrective Session
Saturday 9 November – Remutaka Rail Trail Run & Walk

Looking Ahead…
Sunday 17 November – Bus Trip, Skyline Walkway
Wednesday 4 December – Fem’s Corrective Session
Sunday 15 December – Turkey Trot and AGM
First day for 2020 – Sunday 19 January TBC

Christchurch Marathon: Saturday 2 June 2019

By Brian Hayes
I jogged down to the start line feeling both excited and nervous about my 35 th marathon event. The cutting cold “minus four wind chill” jolted my breath and the light rain nudged me to slip a plastic poncho over my three layers. Hundreds of people in a great assortment of multi-coloured wet weather running gear swelled the growing crowd of runners at the start
line. The race was almost ready to begin.

For a brief moment I dwelt on whether I had enough waterproof gear. What I was wearing was the same as the winter Xiamen Marathon in China five months earlier (three layers).
The starter’s announcement that the rain had temporarily stopped set me at ease so I elected to run with just three layers.
Every runner (or walker) usually has a race target. I had three. First was “to finish”, second was to complete it in under four hours (all previous races were under four hours), the third was to try to gain a top placing for the Male 70 plus division. This race was the New Zealand marathon championship event.

Silence; the countdown, the starters orders, then a soft shuffle of hundreds of running shoes blending with the excited loud cheers of encouragement from rain-coated faithful supporters.
The race was on.
I moved smoothly with a large “5 min per km” group. Alongside me was Betty from Scottish Harriers. However rain quickly returned and puddles at this stage were soaking shoes, socks and legs and it did feel so cold. Voices called out encouragement. One that encouraged me particularly was a Scottish stalwart who had come first in the Rotorua Marathon 14 years
earlier when I did my third marathon. His shout of “Go Brian” lifted my spirits a lot.
At the 18km mark I noticed that Betty had drawn a long way ahead of me. At 21km the rain increased even more. Puddles went over the ankles. With wet shoes and socks the icy cold water froze my legs. I could feel nothing from my thighs downwards.
I did start to feel a lot of anxiety at this stage. I knew that I had slowed down a lot. My head was so wet and cold that I started to close my eyes and count to three. Then I would open them, wipe away the rain and then close them again. I started to zig-zag on the straight paths but because it “felt good”, and took my mind off my coldness I kept zig-zagging deliberately.
Suddenly and determinedly I spoke to myself: “Brian – stop this nonsense, your jaw is frozen, your hands are blue, all extremely cold and wet…you cannot feel your legs….. you have family to think about ….and race marshals and organisers who will be troubled….Brian this is one race you won’t finish….promise yourself that you will stop at the next ambulance or
first aid tent.” …I said to myself… “Yes” I will.
I carried on slowly, ever so slowly. I was at a part of the course where facilities were more spaced. I felt sorry for heavily coated marshals who always encouraged me. I kept going.
I still kept going. I was not taking much notice of the signs. The rain poured into my face and eyes but I kept going, I kept going…forever it seemed, but then, I felt slightly better. I took a drink of water handed to me and drank it all. The water was cold but I was much colder.
Further on I looked up as runners passed going the opposite return direction. Terry and Nick of WHAC.
I had the energy to cheer Terry; but Nick was gone before I could do so.
A change of scenery, different wind and rain direction. A small but encouraging sign seemed to shout to me “7km to go”.
Perhaps my promise to stop at first aid stations was not meant to be.
I wiped my smudgy wet watch, did some mental arithmetic, 7km at 6 minutes per km would have me finish almost on the dot of four hours.
I cried internally with the thought of pushing for another 42 minutes. “Get on with it” I said to myself. Everyone feels pain in a marathon. My tactic then was to count to 10 – running fast; but as soon as I had counted to 10 then I would run slower and count to 20. Then I repeated this process. It took ages but I persevered until I got near to the 40km marker.
Although I was still very wet and frozen I ignored my loud gasping. That can be embarrassing, but spectators were few. I now changed my tactics and counted to 20 for the faster step tempo; and counted to 10 for the slower tempo. With large and ungainly urgent strides I swept down the last 1km. Closer and closer until I could read in the distance the big clock sign; race time. 3:57 something. I pushed hard again and again.
Exhilaration, tears, happiness.
All three targets met. (1) Finished, (2) 3:58:00 and (3) First M70 (the age group NZ title).
Thank you to training supporters from Wellington Harriers and Wellington Marathon Clinic.

A Drinking Club with a Running Problem

By Annie McCabe
One of my favourite things about traveling overseas is running somewhere new, and if possible with like-minded runners. However, what makes it even better is when you discover not only a new running club, but an entire running movement. That is what I stumbled upon in the Cotswolds, England this July when the hosts of the Air BnB we were staying with invited me to their weekly evening Hash House Harriers Run with possibly the most bonkers group of runners I have ever met.

Hashers, I discovered, describe themselves as a ‘drinking club with a running problem’ and this seemed to involve chasing piles of flour all over the English countryside…then chasing a few beers with these same locals afterward in the local pub!

Hashing evolved in the 1930s and is based on the British idea of a paper chase, and is loosely a bit like a fox hunt without the fox. At a hash, one or more members (“hares”) lay a trail, which is then followed by the remainder of the group (the “hounds”). Sawdust, flour or chalk are usually used to mark the trail. The trail periodically ends at a “Hash Halt” with HH
written in flour on the ground and the pack must re-group (rest) then find where the trail begins again. Often the trail includes false trails or “falsies” which are designed to keep the pack together despite differences in fitness level or running speed, as front-runners are forced to slow down to find the “true” trail, allowing slower runners and walkers to catch up. All the trails are set on public thoroughfares which in England often includes not only
walking tracks but also public right of ways through farmland.

Our hash met by a village church, opposite The Bell Inn where guests and visitors were welcomed before the Hare described a 4 to 6 mile run, depending on how many falsies we chose to chase. The reality included running across orchards, fording streams, being chased by cows, stung by nettles and crawling under fallen trees in pursuit of the next pile of flour.
We followed cries of “On on” to confirm the correct route and a few “On back” calls signifying that we had led ourselves astray. Occasionally I popped out into an orchard with no Hounds in sight to hear those behind me bray “Are yoooo?” which translates to Where Are You?

And, was swiftly replied to by an “On-on!” from those hidden from view. Finally the last flour marking is found “On In(n)” signifying the way to the end point; the pub.

There are a few rules on a hash run, all of which I managed to inadvertently break, including not talking about politics, religion or on your mobile phone during the run (bear in mind that I am Irish, hence the politics/religion and have an Irish mother who will phone me no matter
which muddy field I am standing in). The penalty for this involved a “Down Down” at the end of the run, in the local pub. After sharing a good yarn and a very decent feed of chilli, chips and rice (for a reasonable $5) with this unusual group of trail runners, I was given my Down Down. This is a typical Hash House Harriers punishment (or reward depending on how you
look at it) where the offender must drink a half pint of the local beer at speed while the hashers sing a song that ends in them chanting “drink it down down down down down down…” until you have emptied your glass and inverted it on your own head.

Only the English could come up with this! Like I said, completely bonkers. However if you want to give it a go there are over 2000 chapters of this madness internationally, including several in the Wellington region – maybe I’ll see you there!

The Marathon

By Rob Sutton-Founder Life Member Wellington Marathon Clinic
Certified NZAAA Distance Coach

In preparing this for the WMC newsletter I thought I would talk a little about the history of the marathon-why? Recently I attended a running festival on Rottnest Island, and while travelling across on the ferry at 5am got chatting to some competitors. To my surprise they didn’t know where the name came from and why it was 26miles and 385 yards (for the newbies 42.2k) but to me it’s always miles!!

The story goes back to Greek history, way back!!
In 490 BC The Athenian army defeated the invading Persian army in a battle in the plain of Marathon located roughly 26 miles north of Athens. The commanding officer ordered the messenger Pheidippides to run ahead and announce the victory. On reaching Athens he exclaimed “NIKE” (Victory) and then collapsed dead from exhaustion!

During the 1896 Olympics the first modern games organisers wanted to celebrate Greek history so the first marathon race was run! But why 26 miles 385 yards? It’s all to do with the British Royal Family. At the 1908 games held in London the course started at Winsor Castle and ended at the gates of the Olympic stadium some 26 miles. However, the Royal family
wanted to witness the finish some 385 yards on the other side of the stadium so the marathon became 26 miles 385 yards and has been ever since!!

But what about the NIKE bit a name you probably all know or even wear?
Well in Greek mythology NIKE is the winged goddess of victory and the symbol described as a swoosh depicts her wings!! For more information suggest a read of the “Nike” story by Phil Knight the owner and CEO and how it all started to become the largest sporting brand in the world.

My fascination started way back in 1963 when I ran my first at the Olympic club’s marathon in Wellington, I finished 10th in a time of 3hrs 36min with lots of blisters and walking/running the 6miles!!
After finishing my rugby career (played for Onslow and Wellington) I went back to harrier running with Wellington Harriers. Like most, Rotorua was the pinnacle and ran 13 of those with a best time of 2hrs 40 minutes but my best performance was winning the Vet section in Hamilton with a time of 2.40 and I won some socks!! How things have changed. My best ever time 2.36 was in Christchurch.
While doing all this running in those early days it was very hard to get good shoes due to licensing restrictions in New Zealand to protect local industries. To try and solve this I setup the first ever running store called Runners World based in Cuba Mall and was fortunate to bring the first Nike’s into New Zealand.
In association with my friends at Olympic Harriers we converted their marathon into the City of Wellington Marathon, sponsored by my store. This is the same marathon the clinic took over and which still continues to this day all be it with different sponsors. I’m excited to see how it has grown and receiving acclaim around New Zealand.

Trust all members find it of interest and you all continue to enjoy the benefits of running and the friends made.

Playing rugby against South Canterbury
Running at indoor meeting with John Walker

Film Review: Brittany Runs a Marathon

By Wim van Dijk
I saw a few WMC people waiting at the Embassy a while back, so I decided to join them … Actually no, we’d booked this Film Festival movie weeks earlier, since it seemed to be about one of our interests.
It’s set in New York and features a larger size woman who hasn’t got her life at all together, but then she starts to run, slowly, and things change.

Running is glorious of course, but it’s hard to get too many laughs from it, so I was surprised to find that there were some funny bits – mostly better than Gordy’s jokes. There are some truths as well, after all this is based on an actual woman’s story. I guess the movie is really about things like self-esteem and body image, and it ticks the rom-com box.
Good fun, 3 stars.
I most liked: watching average people get off their butts even if they weren’t great at it
I most disliked: the eating scenes. It’s really gross what Americans shovel down their mouths.

Other movies with running in them (thanks Google)

  • The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) – great title
  • Marathon Man (1976) – note it is definitely not safe Laurence
  • Chariots of Fire (1981) – “da DA da, da DA da, …”
  • Forrest Gump (1994) – we all like chocolates
  • Run Lola Run (1998) – nice Doc Martens
  • Spirit of the Marathon (2007) – seriously good
  • Run Fatboy Run (2007) – funniest, until Brittany
  • Desert Runners (2013) – this is crazy
  • The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young (2014) – even crazier
  • Gun Runners (2015) – it’s tough in Kenya
  • Fifty: The Movie (2016) – A NZ legend, go Mal !!
  • Free to Run (2016) – some of the rebels of running.

And finally, it’s fantastic receiving photos from members of their running/walking adventures

Maryse – Abel Tasman

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