Tuesday, 6 February 2018

On Top Of The World {Running The Paekakariki Escarpment Track}

One Saturday morning, shortly after arriving in New Zealand, we took a family trip down to Wellington. We traveled south on State Highway 1, with the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean to our right, and the lush, green hills of the Akatarawa Range to our left. It was glorious. And while we were chatting, gawking at the beauty, something suddenly caught my eye. There, high up on the escarpment, about to cross a rickety swing bridge, was a speck in bright red shorts. He was bounding down a track, long hair flowing in the wind, and no doubt had a huge smile on his face. And from that moment on, I wanted to run the escarpment too. 

Fast forward to a year and four months later, and I finally got my turn. We ran the escarpment! Will surprised me by taking Monday off work, and since the kids were both in school, we had a whole morning of running to ourselves.

We drove down to Paekakariki, where the Escarpment Track ends, hopped on a train, and traveled plus-minus 10 km south to the start of the track in Pukerua Bay. (You can obviously tackle the track from either side, but we chose to do it this way around, since it is more of a climb and apparently better to do on a windy day.)

Compulsory pre-run jumping pic taken at the train station. We obviously nailed it.
We're headed up there!

After a mishap with getting off the train (long story), and a subsequent detour which cost us 25 precious minutes of time, we finally set off. 

And it wasn't long before we started climbing... and climbing... and climbing some more. Holy quad burn! We (foolishly?) ran up the first couple of flights of stairs, but soon slowed down to a walk. Or more like a hunched crawl? Yes, they're every bit as brutal as they seem. 

But the view from the top was so, so worth it! What a beautiful place we live in.

Soooo windy! Our caps only blew off a combined four times on the day.

As we started making our way down the hills, and constant climbing gave way to sections of level(-ish) running through closed-canopy forest, I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear. And while I very rarely whoop with delight while doing something, I just couldn't help myself this time. I was happy to the bone. 

We completed the track in 1:22:58, with fifteen minutes left to spare before J Bear's pick-up time at kindy.  

So if, on Monday morning, you were driving down State Highway 1 and you spotted a bright pink speck crossing a rickety swing bridge, that was me. And I was in my element!  

We did it!


  1. Wat n wonderlike run-date Saar! En dis soooooo mooi, ek stem! Hoop julle kan nog velel meer van dit gedoen kry! Xxxxx

    1. Dankie, liefste Saar! Ek hoop ook so! Ons het besef dat ons verseker sal moet bele in 'n hydration pack as ons meer sulke goed wil doen - bottel-in-die-hand is lastig...! Sal jou raad vra as dit daarby kom. xxxx

  2. En nou is ek jaloers... Baie mooi!


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