Most of my runs are on long, straight country roads due to us living in Irwell. In fact, I had to run 27km a few weeks ago and I ran it in one direction due to a strong southerly blowing (I don’t do head winds) and I literally turned only about four bends. Many of you would find this unbelievably boring but not me. It is a great feeling getting to the end of the road and the Garmin is telling me I have just run 20k. Great only 7 to go!
On Sunday I ran 31k’s around Brookside to Leeston and back. It was a great run! I have run these roads many times before and I know most of the families that farm in the area and they know me. One farmer calls me “the crazy running lady”, which is slightly offensive but I quite like it!
The first thing I do on a long run like this is to drive the course and put out my drink bottles – they are always waiting for me. No one out here thinks it’s odd that there is a water bottle lying beside their letter box or road sign. If I get hot I can leave my jacket or hat in any of the letter boxes and they will always be there for me to pick up later. I have one farmer who leaves lollies in his mail box for me – do you get that town??
The scenery is always changing in the country. You get to see all the seasonal transformations. Watching the paddocks being turned over and planted to then seeing the header coming in to do the harvest when the crops are ripe, the calves and lambs being born means warmer days are beginning. I have even had to do the odd rescue. One time I heard a little lamb crying on the side of the road. There were no other sheep around so I picked her up and put her under my jacket to keep her warm and went up the first driveway I came to – why do farmers have the longest driveways in the world? The farmer named that little lamb “Pauline”. Another time I saw a poor old ewe trying to give birth but the lamb had become stuck, so I ran up another long driveway and told the farmer. He said “well did you pull it out?”
Running in the country does mean running on the roads. There are no footpaths out here. I always run on the right so the traffic is coming towards me. Most drivers are really considerate and will give me heaps of space, I always give a ‘thank you’ wave and nothing beats a cheering toot, toot from friends as they drive past. If I happen to see another runner (a rare occurrence) there is always a big shout out and even a mid-road conversation. I can’t say the same about some of the townie, Lycra wearing, road cyclists that dare venture over the Selwyn bridge, unfortunately!!! *
So give country roads a go. Come on out. Did I also mention there are no hills, no smog, just the sweet smell of the silage being fed out and occasionally the not so sweet smell of the offal pit burn off!
*CP cyclists do not fall into this category.