Start: Koitiata (1,339km)
Finish: Turitea – Greens Road (1,418km)
Distance for the day: 79km
Cumulative distance: 1,418km
Don’t get too excited about the distance covered, it was pretty easy running today - flat, some beach and forest, but mostly road. It was always going to be one the easier days on the whole project, effectively a lead in to the Tararua Range which starts in earnest tomorrow.
The first section of the day along Santoft beach was pretty cool. It is the most bizarre section of beach I’ve ever seen – a really wild moonscape scene with dark grey sand, a relentless westerly prevailing wind and incredible amounts of sizeable driftwood. This shoreline clearly takes a constant battering. Overnight we had high winds and some showers, and the winds remained high all day today. Thankfully I was generally travelling west today so I got nicely blown along, including the beach section.
Thereafter it was a relatively uneventful road run, mostly on quiet-ish back roads, with the odd section of link trail. I did enjoy the notable change in scenery and climate in this south west part of the island – drier, fresher and more open. It almost felt savannah-like at times with pine trees and fields of long dry grass swaying around in the wind. Very mellow and pleasant to be running through. It’s been a sunny but windy day too – lovely running conditions.
Just before lunch I had a surprise visitor – Perry Newburn – a local ultra runner from Feilding which was one of the towns I ran through. Perry has recently completed a perimeter road run around both the North & South Islands of New Zealand, 5,000km in 70 days. What a guy! It felt so special to have someone make the effort to track me down, and then turn up ready to run with me. We enjoyed around 15km together, chit chatting about our respective exploits, it was great to have the company. Many thanks to Perry for joining me.
So we’re now positioned at the foot of the Tararua Range, ready for me to make a start first thing tomorrow. It’s going to be a very challenging couple of days and I suspect it will involve an overnight in a hut somewhere – I need to get my head into the maps later on tonight.
And finally, on a nice positive note, the blustery weather we’ve had over the last day or two is forecast to die out by the weekend, so the kayak crossing of the Cook Straight may be on for the weekend. Keep your fingers crossed – it would certainly add a very satisfying twist to the expedition.
|Perry and I on the road.|
|Entering Palmerston North|
|About done for the day - by the river in Palmerston North|