Rave Run

Every issue of Runner’s World issue includes a photograph that covers two pages. It’s labelled a “Rave Run” and is a reader-submitted beautiful place to run.

Today James and I did our own rave run, up Godley Head (in the Port Hills).

The drive from our house to the start of our run took us about 45 minutes. We drove through several tiny towns and communities before switchbacking our way out to the Taylor’s Mistake Carpark. As in so many parts of Christchurch, road and construction crews were busy at work on rebuilding. At one point we had to stop for a one lane construction zone. We parked near a row of tiny New Zealand baches (holiday houses) and I was suddenly struck by the desire to own one myself.

To start we climbed up away from the sand beach and up into tussock and grasscovered hills. There were no trees to speak of, really, but some pretty flowering cacti and other low scrub bushes. Much of the first 3/4 of the run was right along the bluff edge. We heard the surf pounding against the cliffs below and saw seabirds lofted overhead.

In addition, (like everywhere in New Zealand, it seems) sheep were all over the place. Lambing season started earlier in August, and we must have seen at least 25 lambs. Many of them appeared to be twins, including one set that had just been born. Whenever we came around a corner we’d find a mama and her baby/babies, looking startled at our presence. I tried to assure them we weren’t there to do them harm, but they didn’t want to hang out. Bummer.

Godley Head
James (with the trail behind him), a mama sheep and her lamb, me running, and checking out a WWII observation bunker.

The trail was wide and easy to follow but the hills were challenging for running (at least for a Delaware runner like me!). For the most part we did keep up a decent pace, though I had to walk a few spots.

Godley head map
The Red square is our car. Red circles are WWII battlements. We took the mountain bike trail (Anaconda), white dotted, back to to the trailhead.

When we were getting close to our car, I asked James if he’d after run in a more beautiful place. He said no. And I must agree. It was really stunning scenery. 

Godley Head Run 2
Trailhead sign, James tearing it up, the view from the car park, and me in my new happy place.

We could have doubled back along the Godley Head trail but instead made a turn onto a mountain bike track. The trail here was a narrower and packed hard from bike tires. As most mountain bike tracks do, it undulated, but because we were heading mostly downhill it worked out okay. The loop ended up being just over 5 miles and taking just over an hour.

With appreciation for the beautiful views, time out in nature, and the chance to be out together sans kids, James and I returned to the car. And I’ll definitely be back for another run sometime this spring.

(If you’re interested in some video footage of the mountain bike section, someone posted one to Youtube that you can watch here.)

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