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Hawke's Bay Run Report


There’s nothing like sitting down in front of a jug of beer and deciding to become super fit. Picture this: December 22nd 2022, a nondescript Welsh pub in Wellington and an agreement: “let’s run the Hawke's Bay Half-Marathon”.

Our running experience was at that point varied, ranging from “what do you mean ‘what’s my pace’?” to “I bulk order electrolytes every two weeks”. Still, we agreed to travel to Napier and give this running thing a go.

From the ashes of a night out was born RFC (Running Footers Club) - a Strategy group of wannabe runners with their own Strava and Slack channels.


I won’t bore you with the nerdy details from our months training. Instead, here is an introduction to the RFC team as well as the adventure in a few numbers.

Introducing the RFC team:

- Oliver, the Machine.

Strength: consistency and Strava sass.
Weakness: thinks physiotherapy is, much like flat earth, not real.
Signed up for Hawke's ✔️

- Fraser, the Speed Demon.
Strength: fast.
Weakness: refuses to believe in the wonders of resting, training plans or slow jogs.
Signed up for Hawke's ✔️

- Sonia, the Croatian Coyote.
Strength: not phased about being competitive.
Weakness: not phased about being competitive (also too much of a social dragon to have time for training).
Signed up for Hawke's ✔️

- Lila, the Long-distance Looney.
Strength: Blackcurrant Powerade.
Weakness: easily gets bored - so bored, in fact, that she doubled her race distance “just for the plot”.
Signed up for Hawke's ✔️

- Chris, the Race Legend.
Strength: turning on his Strava for any activity (yes, taking out the bins counts).
Weakness: couldn’t travel up to Hawke's Bay.

- Liam, the Cantabrian Clopper.
Strength: believes running is a “primal human experience”, thus always looks cool.
Weakness: stresses out when he finishes a run without having come up with a good Strava title.

- Mark, the Celebrity Cameo.
Strength: only ran twice but somehow smashed both effortlessly.
Weakness: resisted joining the cult.

- Kate, the Dialled-in Jogger.
Strength: running in 30 degree heat.
Weakness: too far away to join in on the fun.


Fast forward to late August - Fraser, Oliver, Sonia and myself were picking up our race bibs from the Napier i-Site, realising with dread and excitement what we’d agreed to do (except for Oliver - he doesn’t experience feelings). 

Winter at the studio had been busy and we’d all had a lot on our plates. Though running had become a meditative experience (as David Shrigley draws: “run run run run run away from your responsibilities”), training is also a precise science that had been hard to balance alongside other areas of life. To add to the jitters, Fraser and I were still grappling with recent injuries, unsure whether our legs would be cooperative.

Still, we were dedicated to seeing this adventure through and motivated (more importantly) by the promise of a free drink on the other side. Hands full of free sunscreen samples, we returned to our hotel rooms to stretch, sleep and indulge in the last round of carb loading before the big day.

On race day, we were greeted by sunshine and low winds (a pleasure for Wellingtonians used to 70 km/h gust speed sessions). We wished each other luck, agreed to meet at the finish line and jogged off - armed with mantras such as Sonia’s “SEND IT!”. Within 2-4 hours we were reunited, downing electrolytes and swapping out run shoes for more comfortable sliders. Though our experience of the race differed (happy moments featuring good music, making friends and a sense of achievement /versus/ difficult moments featuring pains from blisters and stomach cramps to general exhaustion), we all crossed the finish line feeling incredibly proud.

Sitting on a grassy patch at Elephant Hill winery with two empty pizza boxes as an audience, we let ourselves appreciate our victories:

- Sonia completed a half-marathon only 2x weeks after running 27 kms for charity. Though she didn’t claim it, we were also (jealously) celebrating her finishing the 8 month adventure without an injury.

- Oliver finally hit his goal of a half-marathon under 1h30 - an ambition which a wonky knee stopped him from attaining at his last race. He didn’t cheer for himself too much, cool as ever, used to the whole shenanigan and probably embarrassed by our childlike excitement.

- Fraser proved that his resilience to pain knows no bounds. Colloquially referred to as the “pain cave aficionado” (or, yes, a masochist), he ran through his hip injury for a 1h33 minute finish.

- Yours truly ran a whole 42.2kms despite a knee niggle, stoked with the accomplishment and the title of “marathoner/proper runner” which was immediately going to be traded for the promise of another sport.

For Sonia and myself, the adventure was also an opportunity to raise funds for some of our favourite charities, mingling business with pleasure. Check out a post about this here.

After the race, we relaxed for a few days in Hawke's Bay, enjoying the views as tourists rather than runners (though seeing Napier waterfront still made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up). We hobbled around wineries, hot pools and even took the opportunity to visit one of our client’s stomping grounds, Hastings, to take some pictures of our rebrand. Finally, we drove back to Wellington, discussing what was in store for the future and resisting the urge to sign up for another event.


Needless to say, RFC lives on. A few team members are already working towards another race while others agree to take a break, only lured back to Strava to flex those creative title muscles. Today, we even have a Slack channel for professional run chat (really!), as we get involved with Run 72, organised by Lads without Labels - an event which we’ve been helping promote. 

Keep an eye out for more fluorescent yellow RFC shenanigans - who knows? Next year we may manage to convince the whole studio to join…