06 March 2012

Running Days

Harriers Running Cross Country - Waikato c. 1980
From about my mid teens I've liked running.  Because of my biking six miles each way to and from school and all the tramping and climbing I did I always had a reasonable fitness. Sometimes on weekends during school days a couple of friends and I would place a nice box on the Main South Road just out of Christchurch.  When motorists stopped, hopeful of a box of goodies we'd emerge from hiding and snatch up our box and run off.  Sometimes we'd be chased by angry red-faced (and -necked) men.  My two friends were accomplished Canterbury junior athletes and I soon leaned not to be the one struggling at the rear.

In my early University days my climbing mate, Mike White, sometimes prevailed on me to run on weekends with the University Harrier Club - they were great social events - run-ins over recently ploughed fields were not so hot. Sometimes they would get me to help out their 'C' team on the Christchurch to Akaroa road relay.  Because I was a climber I'd get the Little River to Hilltop leg - great.

In those early days running fitness was an offshoot of my general outdoors fitness.  Later, in middle age, running became more of a passion and a way of keeping fit for my outdoor activities.  I joined Hamilton Harriers (now Hamilton Hawkes) and spent a considerable time running cross-country, road running and marathons. One of the great spinoffs for me was the fact that whenever I travelled for work or pleasure I could get up before breakfast and explore my surrounds.  It was so easy to just toss a pair of running shoes into a bag and you were set.  I involved myself in multisport and mountain running too.  These were probably the most enjoyable of my running times.  On one occasion running enabled me to climb Mt Anglem in a day from Oban in Stewart Island - it was quite a long day.

These days when I go for a run - most of it is walking !!! But these days I'm sometimes bemused when I sit down to dinner with friends who warned me, years ago, that my running would wreck my body - and watch them count out their pills 'to be had with a meal'.

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