I had two lovely runs with the Auckland Jogging club in Auckland this week.
Can you believe they serve tea and biscuits to the runners after training! While drinking mine I got talking to a Scottish woman who has been over here 43 years and still has a very thick Glaswegian accent,
” Well Tony how could I lose my accent, I wasn’t going to give that away as you know us Scots give nothing away! ”
On Tuesday a dinner is also served in the club canteen after training! Their clubhouse is shared with famous All Black feeder rugby club called Carlton Grammar.
Over this meal a couple of the members of the running club sat down with me and my host Alan Knox to discuss my route through the North Island.
One of the lads Chuck is very enthusiastic, so much so that he gave me an invite to stay in his place on Saturday night near Hampton. Chuck also called his friend Craig who lives just past Drury and organized for me to stay the night with Craig and his wife Carlene and family.
So I began the day running out of a harbour on the Pacific touching the water as is my custom. My Auckland hosts Alan and Sue dropped me to that start location and off I went.
Thanks for such a wonderful time and vital logistic help. I am now running with my pack again and it took some getting used to again. Craig and his young son Luke drove by to check on me, so I unloaded my pack with them for the last 20km! Wonderful people, the chain reaction as in North America is continuing here in Kiwi land
Things are a bit easier now that I have a NZ mobile number and Chuck as enthusiastic as ever even asked me to text him a house number I was running past so as he could check on his computer tell me how far to Craig’s place! 14km came the reply! Yes things can be much simpler in the west, well I guess everywhere is the west in comparison to somewhere else.
I was moving fairly well towards the end of today’s 38km and missed my left turn for Craig’s house, No worries Craig who had been following my progress ‘ watching your beacon ‘ as he called it dispatched his son Luke and daughter Lorraine to chase after me on their bicycles and re-direct me.
The roads are a bit complicated in places and I need to be careful not to end up on a freeway. Craig offers to drive the 54km for tomorrows run to Huntley. Quick as a flash I load my pack into the car with the intention of stashing it somewhere at the finish, No pack tomorrow, free running After 10km Craig decides to enlist the ‘ expert advice ‘ of a cyclist friend called Sherpa Pete.
So called Sherpa because he works his butt off in the peloton! So we stop at Sherpa Pete’s place, his wife Sarah-Jane makes more tea, more route discussions and a lot more jokes and we are off again with Sherpa Pete. I see there are two stretches of 15 and 20km with no places to get water, so I will be prepared. We measure the distance as 54km for there are no km markers here.
In Huntley we stop at the Odd Spoon Cafe where we have another laugh with the two owners Toni and Denise Broster, they say minding my pack till I run into town on my world run is the strangest request they have ever had, even more unbelievable than an Irishman that doesn’t drink! On the way back we drop off Sherpa Pete who plans to run home. I am told that I have a new follower to the site, it’s starting to grow here in New Zealand.
Back at Craig’s house after a 120km reconnaissance trip I devour the most delicious dinner I have had in a long time, delicious tender lamb roast with crunchy vegetables. I spend a pleasant evening with the family. Meanwhile Chuck phones and tomorrows, Saturday’s arrangement is for me to run the 54km, texting him just before I get to the Odd Spoon Cafe in Huntley. He will drive out 25km from his home to pick me up to stay at his place and will of course return me to the same place on Sunday morning.
Yes readers, I think we are going to have a good time in the land down under. Here’s till tomorrow, and a lot more smileys