April 2021 Newsletter

Wim Eaten By Particularly Ravenous Tui

Turns out the entire city of Nelson and everything in it was swallowed whole by a particularly ravenous tui. Including our beloved President. And his monthly message. We are receiving reports that surviving locals are attempting to tickle the tui’s belly and persuade her to hock Nelson back up, and it is entirely possible next Month’s newsletter will feature his regular Message.

Great Forest: Susan Clare interviews her son Louis

Susan and Louis were among the Clinic’s number running the Great Forest Half Marathon and 10km. Louis (12) came first in the under 15s for the 10km. Susan came second in her age group (undisclosed) for the half marathon. They thought it’d be neat to interview one another:

Susan to Louis – what did you like most about the event?

The finish! And the food on the way home!

Louis to Susan what did you enjoy about your run?

It is a beautiful run through the forest and I enjoyed the scenery and the soft footing.

Susan to Louis – what did you find was the hardest part?

Getting up early to go to Waitarere and the car journey to get there.

Louis to Susan – what didn’t you enjoy?

I found it quite hard as I was struggling with anaemia (which I didn’t know at the time) and also it was raining which made the course quite slippery.  

Susan to Louis – did you have a strategy for your run?

Yes to get it over and done with as quickly as possible!

Louis to Susan – did you have a strategy for your run?

To try and keep an even pace and run quite fast in preparation for Hawkes Bay marathon.

Susan to Louis – were you surprised you won your age group?

Yes because I was in the under 15s and I’m only just 12.

Louis to Susan – were you surprised you came second in your age group.

Yes, it’s always a nice and unexpected surprised to be placed, especially as I’m at the top of my age category now.  I’m already looking forward to going into the next age group next year, although it’s a shame that Waitarere won’t  be happening then!

Exhortation: WUU2K aid station volunteers

What’s WUU2K? For those who don’t know, it’s a vast off-road running event around Wellington’s peaks: “Wellington Urban Ultra 2k”, denoting the course’s elevation gain.

The 62km course kicks off in Johnsonville, journeys the length of the Skyline Walkway to Karori, zips up to Makara Peak, back down the other side and up to Wright’s Hill, south to the Tip Track and down, then east to Mt. Albert and finishes at Mt. Vic. It’s huge. And in need of volunteers for their aid stations!

Similar situation as with your typical marathon: an aid station needs to be peopled for a day, though the consensus at the most recent WMC committee meeting was that surely WUU2K’s management would break that into two half-days. As per their FAQ page, each aid station would contain:

Tailwind nutrition, Water, Soft Drinks, Vegemite/Pics Peanut butter sandwiches, chips, biscuits, sweets, fruit, and hopefully some home-baked goods.


If you’d like to reach out and volunteer, please do! You may reach out on WUU2K’s Contact Page, or email them directly at wuu2kvolunteers@outlook.co.nz.

If we get enough numbers, we at the Committee meeting were kicking around the idea, at next year’s race in 2022, of having and running a specialised Marathon Clinic aid station, all prettied up and fab and wowing both runners and spectators. How cool would that be?

Great Forest: Mikey’s reminiscings

Note: this section is unconscionable nonsense.

Passchendaele contained terrain ranking amongst some of the most hostile, anti-human biomes, well, ever. Mud. So much mud. No process produces deep, deep mud quite like fertile farmland, a million billion artillery shells, and a winter’s rain.

Experts opine the mud had become a greater enemy even than artillery. Mud consumed armies. You might spend a year mustering a million brave boys, then order them to march across it: they’d attempt to obey, stride forward in lockstep, hit the real bad stuff, sink instantly and vanish without trace. In this manner, Passhendaele’s mud became a kind of 3D archaeological encyclopedia of the surrounding War’s morbid shenanigans. Awful stuff.

Similar tale with the La Brea tar pits of Los Angeles. Tar is a shocking substance. Deep pits of it, even worse: for a pit might accumulate covers of leaves and other detritusses and thereby become stealthy. A perfectly innocent mastodon might amble about, wade in, get its legs stuck, thrash about, sink further, then either drown or starve. A nearby sabretooth-cat or suchlike might spot what seems like the lunching opportunity of a lifetime, trot over, get stuck too, and perish likewise.

Repeat a millionfold: the tar pits contain a vast trapped vertical column of Californian flora and fauna. Its oldest dated object is 38,000 years old. It contains an obnoxious diversity of any variety of fossil, micro or macro, you can possibly imagine: plant remnants, rodent bones, insects, mollusks, dust grains, Buicks, seeds, leaves, pollen. It’s a vertical vault of gunky biodiversity.

Yes there’s a point coming. It’d been a good few years since I’d been to Waitarere and run either its Great Forest Marathon or its Half. In 2001 or 2002, memory honestly escapes me. I was … sixteen, I think? But my god. What a setting. Oh sure, the event itself is a great jolly aerobic phenomenon, but its surrounding setting is an undeniable grimdark hellscape. It’s the wettest and most sodden place I’d visited in years, and I’ve walked the Milford Track. Any and every object in the entire universe has at some point ventured in and vanished. The Waitarere Great Forest Marathon is a slender gossamer thread of jovial athletic agony threading through a vast squelchy abyss of compacted running history.

We in this country don’t really have that much urban history going back that far, do we. Or do we? Ever been to Rome? Or Warsaw? Or any other European city with a thick, thick undercity? I recall once reading a study claiming that on average, Rome grew in altitude by about ten feet a century, simply because its millennia of myriad constructions ended up compactifying down and down and forming a kind of urban slurry. Sink a shaft through Istanbul and you’ll pierce Constantinople, Byzantium, Minas Morgul, Bedrock (Fred Flintstone’s neck of the woods), Atlantis, and Tattooine.

Same deal here, turns out. Waitarere’s Great Forest Marathon is, its organisers informed me at the time, built atop a kind of La Brea Running History Vault. Excavate twenty metres down and you’ll discover traces of the actual real Battle of Marathon. Forty metres? You’ll encounter several million examples of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persistence_hunting. Mastodons and everything. Sixty metres? Herds of triceratops go jogging in those funky ’70s forehead sweatbands and fluoro-orange-neon budgie smugglers.

Or at least that’s what some of the event’s assistants told me. Or at least that’s what my fifteen-year-old memories of them insist they’d told me. Though now that I’ve had a few more marathons under my belt, and learned how to savour and appreciate their apocalyptic agony, it’s entirely possible I’d hallucinated the lot. But the best hallucinations are decent-quality edutainment, right? Hell, I’d run marathons daily if I could somehow guarantee the superior quality of their hallucinations. Maybe our WMC WUU2K 2022 aid station could feature some kind of magic-mushrooms sheep dip. Good clean fun.

Anyway, at some point I’d meant to concur with Susan and Louis about the enjoyableness of the Great Forest event. I concur. It’s great fun. Do try it. Just don’t stray off the official route or it’ll swallow you whole.

Clinic Events in general

Another Clinic committee meeting item of paramount importance turned out to be the necessity of communicating wider Clinic events across the rest of the calendar year. So we’ve got an official website calendar. Do, therefore, peruse https://wmc.org.nz/wmc-2021-calendar. It’s got all kinds of fascinating doohickeys.

Bus journey, 30 May, Colonial Knob Titahi Bay

Finally, let’s wrap up with a reminder of our bus trip on 30 May, to Colonial Knob and Titahi Bay: we’re journeying there by bus, and as with all bus journeys, we need to sign up in advance. Here’s the page: https://wmc.org.nz/2021/events/bus-trip-colonial-knob-and-titahi-bay-30-may-2021 See you there! It’ll be fun!

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