Last Wednesday I went downtown to Britomart – where Aucklands major transportation hub is located – to join the Nike+ Run Club for an evening run. I already knew about their weekly running activities since I joined them before and kept following the Club ever since. I figured out that they still run every Wednesday at 18:00 and thought it would be a good way to get back on track and to meet some new people. So, I signed up online with my Nike+ account and decided to go for the 10k that evening.
Once I arrived at the Nike store, they were already welcoming the runners with some nice beats. I arrived a bit earlier than the rest, so I was able to watch everyone gathering together. It actually surprised me how many runners came in. Definitely a lot more than 3 years ago. And they seemed to be from mixed backgrounds as well. Young, old, fit, a bit less fit, they all were represented.
That night, the Nike+ Club offered 3 different kind of trainings: 10k, 5k, and 1k repeats. It actually didn’t matter that I signed up online for the 10k, since I could have swapped easily if I had wanted. One of the Nike girls, Lydia, started off with a short warming-up. All the runners bravely followed her instructions, including myself. Afterwards, we were split up in those 3 different training groups, which were led by several pacers. The 5k training was by far the most popular one, followed by the 10k, leaving only a few runners interested in the 1k repeat.
So, I took off with the 10k group and immediately noticed that the group was aiming high. Gosh, they all seemed so fit! No wonder, that it didn’t take long before the leaders of the group separated themselves from the rest and just raced away. Knowing that I would have to encounter a few steep sections anytime soon, I can’t deny that I got a bit nervous about.
When we had to stop at a traffic light, I got the chance to chat with one of the pacers, a very friendly young lady. I told her that I’m from Holland and therefore am not used to running up hills at all. I also asked her what pace she would aim to run for the rest of the route, and hoped it would be around 5:30. However, this wasn’t the case since she wanted to make sure that everyone stayed within the group, and soon would slow down her pace to stay with the last ones. A few moments later, I was running next to another young lady and I decided to stay with her since I liked her pace. At a certain point, we caught up with 3 other runners and sort of formed our own group, fighting the steep parts of the route together.
Again, I started to chat with another young Kiwi lady I ran next to – unfortunately we didn’t exchange names. She told me that she ran the half marathon of Amsterdam and also the one in Auckland. The latter was in her opinion quite a tough one. Yup, something to remember in case I might decide to subscribe to it this year… She also gave me some tips for other running events I could look into. Always nice to get inside information!
Anyway, even though I was able to keep up the pace, these 10k with the Nike+ Club were definitely a nice challenge and a good way to explore the urban landscape of Auckland. Now, especially with the daylight savings, it’s certainly safer to run within a group and it’s just fun as well. You get the chance to meet new people, get the right dose of motivation, discover new routes, and you don’t have to worry about getting lost within a new environment. When you finish at the Nike store, they even set out water, wine gums and bananas for you. I’m hooked! And I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys running and who is new to Auckland! Plus, it’s a free event. It only costs you sweat and time. Endorphins all included!
Let’s see what next Wednesday will bring! I’m already looking forward to it! Who’s with me? Sign up here!
Ps. Follow me on Strava for a detailed overview of my runs!