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South Wairarapa Runners November event: Rachel’s Tin Hut Challenge

Sunday, 27th November 2022 @ 9:00 am 11:00 am

“Moroa Road is the flattest and straightest road in the world. Of course the Romans built it. Who else would have employed such precision?”

– Rachel Marsh

It is a new year. Rachel, our Prime Motivator, has moved to greener pastures (something about wanting to live near a lake that was bigger and much colder). But Rachel is not forgotten. Her legacy to SWR lives on in this run.

As verified by Rachel many dozens of times, it is exactly 5 kilometres from the Tin Hut to the end of Moroa Road. The journey in that direction starts out well enough, as we run along a paved road amongst a few signs of civilisation. When the road turns to gravel, though, things change. You can see the turnaround point, the junction with Bidwills Cutting, for ages before you get there. It’s like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail in which Lancelot is charging toward the castle to rescue what he thinks is a damsel in distress: From the point of view of the guards on duty, it’s the same shot over and over, and he never seems to get there … until he does, suddenly, and then it’s all over for most of the poor denizens inside the castle. In the same way, this run challenges you to stay focused for 5 Ks as you progress on the flattest and straightest road in the world. 

It is the second 5 Ks, after the turnaround, in which things become interesting. As you follow the straight, flat road back to the Tin Hut, you notice, along the side of the road, some power poles. The challenge then is, starting at a power pole, to run much faster than you have been (sprinting, if you can bear it), until you get to the next power pole, then keep running but a bit slower as recovery (“No walking, people!”), and then going hard out at the next power pole, and recovering at the next (“Slow down, don’t stop!”), and so on. Rachel’s favourite trick is to suddenly say, “Now sprint for TWO power poles!” The end result is that the run back seems nothing like the run out, which is really what you want in an out-and-back. (For extra motivation, employ the power pole challenge on the way out, too.) After we have glided the last few hundred metres back through civilisation and reached the oasis that is the pub carpark, we’ll shuffle off to a cafe in Featherston or Greytown, to bask in the afterglow of completing Rachel’s Tin Hut Challenge.

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