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Ed Said - Fun on the run


dadIt’s interesting what people wear to different outings these days. If we take black tie events out of the equation, for the guys it probably won’t be a suit or tie regardless of the occasion.

In fact these days jeans are suitable attire for anything. They can be your well-worn favourite pair for a barbecue where they go remarkably well with a box of beers, or a smart pair with a tee shirt and jacket for something more swish.

The girls, on the other hand, seem to get tarted up to varying degrees for most outings taking special care with make-up and jewellery to put the icing on the cake. Last Sunday I walked the Whangarei half marathon. It was the third time of walking it though I ran it eleven years ago.

It was also my birthday. It wasn’t a birthday treat, it just happened to fall on that day. I’ve always been a brisk walker. I can’t see the point in mooching about at a snail’s pace. If you’re walking for exercise then it’s pointless unless there is some effort attached so I see the 22 kilometres as something of a workout but also something to do in the three hours between breakfast and coffee time.

What interests me though is the variety of people who make up the fun run set. Not so much their shapes and sizes because that is really no guage as to any qualification. The intriguing part is the uniforms that many adopt and the obvious relationship to the marketing of fitness and health products. I have a pair of sneakers I’ve probably run or walked thousands of kilometres in, a tee shirt, and a thin pair of baggy blue shorts. I’m already so far behind in the fashion stakes I have no chance of winning anything.

Unless your shirts are made from a material that ‘breathes’ your body can’t possibly take in the necessary whatsits to head the bunch. Figure-hugging tights, halves, three-quarters, high waists, low waists are a dire necessity as are the shoes, and of course they must have the right label. Next comes the machinery. Heart monitors, step monitors or whatever they’re called. A woman just ahead of me had a phone app which chimed in at 21 kilometres telling her she had run for three hours at 7 kph and her time per kilometre. It didn’t make her get there any quicker though.

Most had earplugs feeding them music along the way or regular encouragement from some motivational guru. Sorry, not me. I seem to pick up a song in my head the beat of which matches my stride and off I go, free and easy. Most, I note, carry baggage. Health freaks wouldn’t see it as baggage but I can’t see why, in walking three or four hours one would need a bum bag loaded with litres of electrolyte drink, three bars of chocolate and a kilogram of nuts and raisins. It’s only walking after all.

The most interesting part though is the conversation. While people chatter away early along the route it’s interesting to find out what they really think of their neighbour, their kids teacher, netball coach, boss, Prime Minister and the horrendous price of duty-free gin. I guess some need that companionship to break the monotony but I’d rather just get the job done. As it is only walking, recovery is almost instant. So, another ‘job’ done, wife and I then enjoyed a nice $42 brunch between us, which I paid for myself so Happy Birthday to me I guess – until next year. You should try it.

Rob Pooley, Editor


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