“People sometimes sneer at those who run every day, claiming they’ll go to any length to live longer. But don’t think that’s the reason most people run. Most runners run not because they want to live longer, but because they want to live life to the fullest. If you’re going to while away the years, it’s far better to live them with clear goals and fully alive than in a fog, and I believe running helps you to do that. Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life — and for me, for writing as whole. I believe many runners would agree” – Haruki Murakami.
I’m not really sure where to start when expressing my thoughts about the recent weekend where 50+ runners of all types met in Wellington for this years Run Festival. Emotional. Tiring. Inspiring. Fun. Connective. Happy. Are words that spring to mind. But overall, the collective community of what running brings stood tall where all sorts of people involved with running and culture can connect. This is a great thing.
There is something electric about being part of an event that feels the same way as Good People Run and RunFest organisers Ewa and Mike are bang on when it comes to the new movement within our culture. The Runfest event is profit free for runners by runners and the schedule while quite intense, offered something for everyone. The food and coffee was quite frankly the best I’ve had at an event- and worth the ticket price alone :) Like all weekends away with mates, there was much lack of sleep, last minute pre event talk tweaking, and far to much carb loading… but this is part of the whole experience away. I mean we run right? So croissants, cookies and cake with morning coffee is perfectly OK. Right?
I kind of drifted in and out of the talks with a natural attraction to the outside shenanigans such as core strength and running technique classes (Mark Anderson and James Kuegler), with camera in hand. The morning run on Sunday before our talk and the beautiful light mixed with camaraderie was a highlight for me, alongside Roger Robinson’s talk on being a lucky historian of running (plus a 1.5 hr post talk interview for GPR!)
But then when I stop to think about the whole weekend I personally took much much more away from it than that.
Heather Anderson spoke of conquering the 2,100 mi long Appalachian Trail and 2,600 mi long Continental Divide Trail in 2006 and in a few weeks her third Barkley Marathon attempt. But aside from the physical- Heather had a simple approach to these adventures that resonated within me.
Nate Godfrey, a former world class track athlete is on his way to number 7 of 7 marathons on seven continents, and what I connected with was his pure joy of running and naivety to chase big dreams.
James Kuegler inspired us all to rock a ‘dirty mo’ and still be taken seriously with one of the most insightful talks of where we come from as runners and the foot wear evolution from bare to over support – back to a good middle ground. Did I mention that he had a great looking moustache?
Dawn Tuffery made me laugh out loud with her illustrations which are so on point with runners and the culture it is a sure recipe for success. Covering the A- Z of reasons to love running was the focus of Dawns session and thankfully you can see these reason too in her new book – which I recommend you buy. It’s a real gem.
Malcolm Law shared that everyday people can do extra ordinary things if you have a purpose. On this level I have to whole heartedly agree- we all need a purpose in life and our running.
Emma Bassett is a gently spoken lady with some amazing strong determination, who shared her love for running all across the globe. Speaking more with Emma post talk I realised that I could literally have talked with her all day. She has an amazing energy and testimony to the ‘quiet achiever’ in us all.
Ewra Kej (one of the organisers) spoke about the modern day phenomenon of FOMO (Fear of missing out) and how instead of being jealous or angry at others on social media- to celebrate their endeavours and the journey taken to them. This is right on point as today we are surrounded by more and more people doing ‘epic shit’- its not easy to see the whole picture and celebrate it.
The Wellington running scene is simply breath taking. Inspiring to say the least and has really re-kindled my love for running in a group and more on dirt ;)
Everyone else who I spoke too, you simply stoked me up! We had so many discussions about running and its culture that I’ve literally come back with a list of topics to cover in future articles. Thank you :)
So thank you RunFest 2016 for putting on such a great weekend and inviting Good People Run to be part of it. Next year we would love to come back and look forward to catching up for a run in Wellington again soon. Meanwhile if you are on the fence about taking part in next year- don’t. Just go along for a fun weekend with like minded people.
Last but not least- a huge thank you to Editor Matt who came along and helped with our first GPR road trip. I speak of WE when it comes to the GPR project and without your help mate- we would not be right here. Ta!
All feature photos by Paul Petch.