I run for the textures under my feet. —Roger Robinson

The morning run in ideal weather

By Roger Childs

The idea was to run to the Waikanae River along the expressway track then back via the Otaihanga Domain, boardwalk, parks, streets and the beach. In the process I would experience a range of environments and feel plenty of textures under my shoes. It worked out very pleasantly, and along the way I passed, or was passed, by about 300 people and 50 dogs. They were biking, walking, running, scootering (is this allowed?) [who knows? —Eds] and strolling with the kids. Everyone was cheerful and obviously delighted to get their bubbles outside. They greeted me with a friendly “Hi” or “Good morning”, or gave me the Corona wave.

The first people I encountered were friends at the end of our drive. They were heading home with their chocolate lab, and, with an appropriate social distance, we had a chat about the flattening of the Covid casualty curve and the need for a comprehensive exit strategy.

Textures and environments

The expressway track is 200 metres from our place so I experienced the textures of road, shingle track and sealed walkway in rapid succession. Now I was on a 6km virtual straight line with a few kinks to the Waikanae River bank with just three road crossings. Only a few cars and trucks were travelling on the roads and the expressway, however  along the walkway/cycleway there were plenty of bikes and people on foot. 

At times I was running between or alongside blocks of trees, flaxes and shrubs — some of the 1.5 million plants embedded either side of the expressway by Natural Habitats. I also passed the numerous wetlands that had been created when the throughway was built. Just before the Waikanae River bridge I dropped down on to the north bank and was soon in the bush track leading into the Otaihanga Domain – a new texture.

Heading back 

Beyond the Domain I passed the Otaihanga Boating Club and was now on grass, then it was a shingle track and the boardwalk, which includes a bridge, through to Paraparaumu Beach. The Waikanae River had barely a ripple as there was no wind to ruffle the surface.

A the end of the boardwalk track it was on through Te Atiawa Park and then via a footpath to  Kena Kena Park and on to Manly Street. All the way there were cheery people and dogs going by, and there were plenty of bikes especially on the road to the shops and McLean Park in Paraparaumu Beach. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlong the concrete Marine Parade walkway Kapiti Island was at its best – every ridge and spur sharply delineated and the bush-clad valleys, partly in shadow, clearly displayed.  I was on my last texture and shared the beach with scores of people, using the discrete social spacing, and plenty of dogs. Across the sea to the south-west, the ridges of Marlborough and Nelson were visible in a faint haze, on the horizon.

The sea was a light blue and the rippling, tiny waves were little higher than a few centimetres. It was a day which in normal times would have seen swimmers cavorting in the water, but such activity would have aroused the ire of the local lockdown enforcement constabulary. One man was bold enough to paddle bare foot along the edge.

The way home

Now off the beach I headed through the streets towards the track south of the airport. Over the last mound on to the trail I encountered a cheery woman pushing a two child stroller with a happy, obedient dog in tow. 

It typified the enjoyment people were getting in the welcome fine weather from the lock down exercise. Along the way, they experienced, like me, a range of Kapiti environments south of the Waikanae River, and different textures under their feet.