Run Wellington. Explore places to run in the coolest little capital.

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Pretty standard affair to see so many social runners in NZ's capital city. Photo supplied.

Pretty standard affair to see so many social runners in NZ’s capital city. Photo supplied.

Forget the PB’s, Fastest known this and that, going massive all day… the fact is that most runners… simply like to run. While goals are important, things are changing in the running world where community is starting to matter as much. Having access the ‘good parts’ of trails and urban running routes is also easier than ever. Good times!

So bringing community and sharing ‘places’ together, you have  Run Wellington that is moving ahead with this concept hard out. We talk up the Wellington running scene highly at GPR, and rightly so, as it seems to be miles ahead with the community approach. People in this small but perfectly formed city seem to really care about NZ running and each other.

Run Wellington we believe is a great model for all regions NZ wide and beyond to share running to visitors and locals alike. Chan and Co. are behind the project and I asked a few questions to share. A podcast is due to go live in the next week or so too.

“Our goal is to bring you all the good stuff about why Wellington is such a great place to go running. As anyone who lives and runs in the capital of New Zealand knows, we have an abundant network of running routes both on and off road.

If you are new to Wellington and you are trying to find out about the best places to go running or want to connect with local runners, then you have come to the right place! You will also find information on local running events, so you are up to date on what’s happening in this running friendly city.” – Run Wellington.

Great to hear about this new project Run Wellington. Can you tell us what it is all about?
Run Wellington is a community project aiming to promote Wellington as a running destination by showcasing local trails and routes. We also try to point people to the best places to go for the perfect post run beer, coffee or cake. It’s really about runners showing runners what a great place Wellington is.

Who is involved with the Run Wellington project?

At the moment we are a volunteer collective. By that I mean we all pitch in when we can and contribute to a list of tasks/activities when we have spare time. Basically I [Chan] look after the overall goal/vision and Orsi does all the content/imagery, social media and techy stuff and Amanda helps with her wisdom and planning. Emma and Dena have been diligently scouting trails and writing about them. We wish we could do this as our full time job though!

What events or ideas helped this project come together?
Thinking about it, it has been in the back of my mind ever since I arrived in Wellington and discovered the many trails you can head out on for a run right from the CBD. Then it was a bit of procrastinating and waiting for the right group of likeminded runners to come together.

Wellington running so close to the city! Photo by Paul Petch

Wellington running so close to the city! Photo by Paul Petch

What’s so special about the Wellington Region and it’s running on offer?
The easy access to trails. Right from the CBD you can get to Mt Victoria where you can spend a good 60-90 minutes combining the southern and northern walkway trails, or keep going further. I don’t think there is any capital city in the world that can claim to have 60kms of continuous off road trails from one part to the other. We proved that with the WUU2K!

You guys have a strong connection with WORM community. Can you tell us what WORM is all about and how they are involved or inspired this project?

Yes, WoRM – the Wellington Running Meetup – is really the community hub that brings Wellington runners together for group runs and events. We are, so to speak, almost an extension of WoRM, promoting Wellington trails, so that, for instance, runners coming to the city from different parts of the world can experience these amazing routes.

A couple of unique events WoRM organises are the RunFest and the Worldwide Companion Run 5k, which provide exciting opportunities for runners to connect with each other, learn and share experiences.

WoRM is about welcoming anyone who wants to run, and helping them to experience trails in a sharing and caring community, we are stoked to be part of. You can read all about my running over at my blog – What Runner Do.

How long have you been a runner Chan and what are your favourite places to run and why?
I started running when I was in high school in Sri Lanka, this was way back in 1987. I wasn’t much good at cricket so I signed up for our athletics team, which at that time consisted of a bunch of misfits who were somewhat the out casts of the school because we didn’t play cricket.

However we were lucky in that we got one of the best coaches in Athletics at that time who was assigned to my school for one year. I tried different events and found my comfort zone in running 400 meters and 800 meters. I never excelled at them but I was good enough to be part of the relay teams selected out of the few regional schools to run at school events and at regional level. Our coach had a much disciplined approach to training. I remember we used to meet at the school playground every morning before school started.

Chan. One of the team behind the Run Wellington concept. Photo supplied.

Chan. One of the team behind the Run Wellington concept. Photo supplied.

At that time we ran on a mixture of gravel and grass playing field as our school didn’t have a track. The only track was at the main sports stadium some miles away, and we only got to run there when a competition was on.

Training or “Running Practice”, as we called it back then, was about 90 minutes before school started and then after school we would also have either strength work or longer runs. During two years our group of misfits became quite good and six of us including myself were selected to represent our region at the national champs.

So this was back in 1990 and I never ran again until after I moved to New Zealand in 1999. My first few years in New Zealand were mostly about work and only around 2005 I started to realise I needed to do some physical activity, I was stressed at work, consistently tired and quite unhealthy with a fair amount of unwanted baggage around the waist. I bought a mountain bike and did a bit of that, then I started slowly jogging for 10-15 minutes. It felt weird/uncomfortable but it also was an almost somehow good and familiar feeling. So I continued on until I could run for 30 minutes without stopping. So you could say I’ve been running for a while.

My favourite place in terms of an exotic destination will have to be Northern Italy. We had a great holiday last year and explored the Dolomites and the surroundings of Lake Garda.

I like flowing trails where you can get into a rhythm and keep going. Other times I am not fussy I just run about anywhere.

What are the short, medium and long term goals of the Run Wellington project?
Our short term goal is to write about local trails, map them and get them online. Medium term, we would like to build an app that you can download and follow trails on. Longer term… haven’t really thought about it yet.


Can you please share your website and social media links?

www.runwellington.com
twitter.com/runwgtn
Instagram.com/runwellington
www.whatrunnersdo.com

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Paul Petch
Director of Good People Run, pro photographer, tutor and a recovering 'runaholic'. Based in Auckland City, my work is at www.paulpetchphoto.com
Paul Petch

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