Southland festival of running: RACE REPORT


The word [race] seems a bit OTT for this event but.. here we go.😆

When I first engaged in conversation with the organisers of this event, the flat outright no wheelchairs allowed (with no real reason) was not sitting too well with me. With the help of a local disability sport organisation, we managed to get the committee to engage in conversation and I went down to the wharf with a committee member to do a recce. It went well and I was allowed to enter. I was to be the first and only wheelchair entry, and after the race they promised to re-visit the topic, for future years.

I have only had the wheelchair 3 weeks. Clearly my swimming background stood me in good stead because I knocked out a 5KM in the chair on the day they delivered it to me having never used one before that. I have since done 3 more 5km rolls in the chair, all at the estuary. Today was #5 and only the second with the mountain-bike wheels.

I had a quiet goal of trying to set a new 5KM Wheelchair PB, and was hoping to not be last. But I had no idea what types of people would be entering. Remember I’m still teaching myself the best way to efficiently propel a wheelchair… having never used one before.

It turns out there were 2 walkers, the rest of the entrants were runners. The walkers and I had a wee chat and were roughly the same speed give or take, for the first 1.5KM or so. When we got onto the more compacted part of the trail, I was able to increase my speed and by the time I got to the boardwalk, I had a wee lead on them. I didn’t dare to look back too much – and just focussed on keeping a steady constant pace and effort. I knew that the back section was an incline, I would be slower so I needed to do my best to get ahead while it was flat.

Apparently, they were gradually gaining on me this whole back section… but.. just before the course rejoins the initial out section, there’s a nice downhill.. and weeeeeeeeee down I went and got a good lead again 😆😜. I was able to stay in front of them for the final 1km and finished just under 1 min ahead of them with a new personal PB of 53:27. My previous PB was 55:56 (set on the same trail when we did the recce a few weeks earlier)

I looked at the time for the last finisher of the 10km and I recon, with some practice, I could do 10km next year and also perhaps not be last. 😍♿️😎

Hoping for an awesome finish photo in the next few days.. if she effectively got the photo I hope she got!

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