(This isn't my normal type of review but I cleared it for takeoff anyway).
My 14-year-old niece is a sporting champion. At eight, she went to Japan and brought home gold for karate. Since then, she has represented the Northern Territory in karate, swimming and soccer. She was supposed to represent Australia at the world karate champs in 2020 but COVID. Accordingly, my niece has more medals,  ribbons and trophies than she can poke her golf club at.
Until Hamilton’s 2018 Round the Bridges race, I’d never won a medal for anything in my entire life. And yes, participation medals totally count in my books. Life got in the way in 2019, but at the beginning of 2020, I entered the Taupiri Expressway Classic, a once in a lifetime opportunity to run/jog/walk the glorious new section of motorway heading north, with the promise of a medal at the finishing line.
Although there were lockdowns in 2020, I ended up with six medals for the year including the Round the Bridges, The Huntly Half, and the Rotorua Running Festival (three weekends in a row). My 2021 medal campaign kicked off super early this morning with Fairfield Rotary’s Run The Runway at Hamilton Airport NZ
Several hundred keen runners/joggers/walkers of all ages assembled at dawn outside the terminal. It was a tad chilly, and I was so pleased I’d grabbed a jacket on my way out the door. There were plenty of Rotarians decked out in their hi-vis vests roaming around. The multitude of roles for parking, race bib pick up, bib checks, course marshals and medal giver-outer-ers had been divvied up amongst the Rotarians and all in all it ran like clockwork. On that point, it had to because flights were scheduled for this morning.
Starting between the terminal and the firehouse, the course went up to the main runway where we took a right to the northern end of the runway “turn around at the fire truck”, all the way to the southernmost point of the runway “turn around at the other fire truck”, and back to the terminal, 5kms in total. A one-hour time limit was imposed, and stragglers were to be collected by vans if they did not complete it by 7:45am.
So, what was it like? It was just plain awesome. First, there was no jostling for space because the tarmac was super wide and there weren’t thousands of people squishing up in confined spaces. Secondly, there were no footpaths or puddles or gutters or cars to navigate. And we all went at least a few metres with our arms spread wide, pretending we were planes taking off into the early rays of dawn. Run the Runway was the most family-friendly event I’ve participated in as there was no chance of anyone getting lost on such a straightforward course. Kids and parents chatted and there were plenty of photo opportunities.
Before we taxied out, I did hear a couple of the Rotarians say how pleased they would be when it was all over as they’d had sleepless nights and it had been very stressful pulling the event together. The hard work is done team. You know what it entails, and I promise the next Run the Runway will be easier to manage.
Please please please consider another. I really want to pretend to be a plane again on a real-life tarmac. And thanks to Davy Engravers for such a cool medal. It looks great amongst my odd bod medal collection that is beginning to rival my niece’s haul.