I run for the textures under my feet. Legendary English professor, writer and runner, Roger Robinson
Great morning for a run, walk, bike …
By Roger Childs
Off at 7.40am on Saturday morning, and it’s definitely the first frost of the year. It’s supposed to get up to 16 C later, but I needed to wrap up warm this early: polypro, woolly hat and gloves.
On my excursion I pass many people who are walking, running and biking, and most greet me with a cheery Hi or Good morning.
Along the expressway track it’s great to see the vegetation growing up; what a great idea to plant 1.6 million trees, shrubs and flaxes along the perimeter from Raumati South to Peka Peka.
The value of the expressway was immediately apparent, folk from Wellington off for a Queen’s Birthday break, being able to drive straight through without having to negotiate local Kapiti traffic and lights.
Kapiti Road transformed
Now it’s on to Kapiti Road via the Z petrol station and past The Landing. Some may have wondered how well this commercial complex would do. However, it is no doubt benefiting from the expressway and the access on and off at Kapiti Road. The Coastlands people were not happy about the new retail complex going ahead.
I recall visiting New World soon after it opened and there were no more than a dozen customers. However, now it is a bustling supermarket rivalling Countdown and Pak’nSave. Mitre 10 is also thriving and having an excellent garden centre and cafe attached has obviously increased the custom.
Along past the airport I reflected on the changing scene. The untidy buildings that used to flank the road are now all gone and it looks a lot tidier with the modern car centres, the Caltex petrol station and the wide concrete footpath. (However, concrete is my least favourite underfoot texture!)
Questions came to mind:
- Would Chatham Air revive the convenient Auckland link?
- Would the wealthy Todds sell off the airport to developers?
- Would there be streets and houses all over the area in 10 years time?
The beach zone
Then it was round the edge of the airport and a new texture: clay track. Out onto Toru St and I head through to the excellent Marine Parade walkway. What a great asset this is. It’s well used by people of all ages from toddlers to elderly folk from the Kapiti Home.
Now on the beach and I have another texture under my feet. It’s always great running on the sand when the tide is well out. I reflect on the reality that people in Waiouru, Twizel and Ekatahuna can’t do this.
The evidence of climate change and the ravages of the sea are very apparent. In recent years big concrete blocks and new retaining walls have gone in, but there is a gap in the line south of the S bends.
Not surprisingly this section is getting heavily eroded. Someone once told me the Council owned that piece of frontage: unconfirmed.
There are more greetings from people, many with dogs who love the beach, especially if they are chasing balls and sticks.
I accidently frighten a lady in front of me by crunching on shells at Raumati Beach where the Wharemauku Stream was slipping into the sea as far north as I’ve seen.
Apologies made we had a chat over the stream bridge and then I headed into Marine Gardens where the minature trains on Sunday afternoons, and the splash pad in summer, provide great entertainment for kids and parents.
High on a rise in the Gardens behind the old swimming pool I can see the distant South Island, and Kapiti Island is looking a picture.
The sun’s up by now and there is also a faint gibbous moon to the south. I head across Matthews Park with its welcome grass texture, and then through to Harry Shaw Way. At the end of the cul de sac I am able to once again access the wonderful expressway tracks leading to Raumati South.
At the neatly designed eel bridge I meet a friend who is walking his dog – time for a chat.
Now it’s down Poplar Avenue along the recently widened footpath which allows the bikers to safely get between Queen Elizabeth Park and the expressway trails.
Raumati South and the Park
Into the Park I run along the chip-sealed track which winds through to a Rainbow Court exit. Away to the left I can see paddocks full of cattle and I wonder about how much farming should be allowed in this reserve.
The official 1977 Reserves Act says that farming is allowed only if it’s in the public interest.
Many folk will remember the beautiful Labour Day morning two to three years ago when the farmer, with the connivance of the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), has his paddocks sprayed with poison – not a good scene as it wasn’t well advertised.
GWRC later apologised, but the damage to community relations was done.
Now it’s down to the seawall at Raumati South and I’m running on a rather patchy and uneven texture. However, further north, the excellent 500m long revetment beside the road is great.
I remember going down there after a storm many years ago, and there were shells and plenty of other debris washed up by giant waves onto the Esplanade road. The Council fortunately took action and the result was a great new concrete path with rocks in front to dissipate the waves. A smaller version of the much longer Coastal Walkway in New Plymouth.
A cafe encounter
Down Rosetta Road, I spy the legendary, Julie Leibrich, pyschologist, writer and poet, in the cafe. After a delightful chat, she reads me one of her many wonderful sonnets which lyrically combine personal memories with the delights of the natural world. I head for home buoyed with positive images of my surroundings.
Now it’s down Myrtle Lane and through to the south end of Margaret Road
Back past the Kapiti College entrance it’s on through the quirky Raumati shops and along the grass edge of the multi-purpose Weka Park and home.
I’m ready for some stretches, a shower, breakfast, coffee and the full sized Saturday DomPost. (Not that impressed with new tabloid format during the week.)
It’s been about an hour and three quarters running – perhaps 16 -17km. I’ve seen so many icons of the Kapiti Coast and said Hi or chatted with more than twenty people.
It was a great way to go on a range of textures, in a journey around my district.