April 19, 2018

I completed my final half marathon along the Auckland waterfront just before Christmas. Turning up to 40 of my closest friends and family at the start line and having three quarters of them run, bike or skate alongside [1] me meant that I didn’t want it all to end. Awkwardly, it didn’t. Due to an unfortunate miscalculation on my part (in that 19 half marathons equates to only 399 and not 400 km), I had to run one additional kilometre while everyone else [2] feasted on my scientifically proven, organic, clean-eating recovery diet of Chia and jelly snakes.

[1] Aside from my younger brother who was always slightly in front - I have never beaten him in a half marathon, and he was going to ensure that this charity fun run would be no exception. [2] Everyone does not include David Slack who begrudgingly joined me for km 22. 

And would you believe it. We were not plagued...

December 22, 2017

I arrived in Tarawa, the capital of Kiribati, at about 3.30pm. Tarawa is a skinny boomerang-shaped atoll in the central Pacific Ocean. It contains one long main road that spans the entire stretch of the island, with a lagoon on one side and open ocean on the other. When I was travelling down the main* drag to get to my accommodation, we came to a small hump in the road. I was told that this was the highest point on the island, sitting at just 3m above sea level. “When there is a Tsunami we all have to come here” a local woman said to me, laughing. Unsure if this was a joke or not, but wanting to act cool, I laughed along with her. *only

Kiribati was something of a poisoned paradise. I saw some of the most beautiful beaches and outlooks that I have ever seen in my life; fish and lobster appeared plentiful; and numerous crops and coconut trees were dotted between the arb...

December 18, 2017

Sunday 10th - 21km

The South Pacific is irrefutably one of the world’s most predisposed regions when it comes to climate and weather induced disasters, which is why I chose Fiji as the location for my next run. For several of the islands in this region, adaptation has become an immediate necessity for survival, and the realities of relocation has become a sad predicament for many communities. While the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests that rising temperatures will cause some communities to seek refuge abroad, most displacement will occur within countries.

I landed in Nadi after an overnight flight from Honolulu, a flight that included an impromptu stopover in Apia. When we were made aware of this initially unannounced deviation, my new friend* Janine in the seat next to me exclaimed “this was not on my ticket – it is very annoying that we have to drop...

December 14, 2017

Wed 6th - 21km

Thurs 7th - 21km

I arrived in Honolulu at about 11pm on Tuesday where my Air BnB host named Star was waiting for me at the airport in her blue Ford pick-up. When we got back to the accommodation, Star apologised for the mess in the lounge, explaining that she had spent all week moving house. “I’ve had a huge clear out – I had to bin half my stuff” Star told me. I queried whether the three large metal buckets full of what looked like acorns and the collection of coke bottles (those ones with people’s names on them) had some sort of sentimental value, having appeared to have made it into the top half of Star’s possessions. “Oh no that’s not mine - that’s Greg’s work stuff – he keeps it here as he is in-between jobs at the moment”. What jobs this unknown man called Greg, who appeared to be in the industry of manufacturing personalised nutty-flavoured cola, w...

December 13, 2017

Mon 4th - 21km

As I arrived in Alaska at about midnight, it wasn’t until I woke up in the morning that I saw the full extent of the snow blanketing the streets of Anchorage. People were skating along frozen lakes, not for pleasure, but to undertake routine upkeep of the area. Christmas decorations had been threaded through fences and laced around trees, and there was a giant gingerbread house competition taking place in the centre of town. The harsh rugged scenery was beautiful as I ran along the coast, through blizzard-like conditions, looking out at the large chunks of ice floating in the sea next to me.  

 Due to the stunning landscape, there were a lot of photo opportunities. At one point, whilst struggling to advance my future career of environmental filmmaker, I met Patrick. Patrick, who was a kind-faced man donning a matching scarf and beanie combo, sto...

December 11, 2017

Sat 2nd - 21km

Sun 3rd - 21km

I arrived in Vancouver, via Seattle, at about 9pm, starving and unjustifiably agitated. I think the agitation stemmed from being crammed into a sitting position for 9 hours, my knees aching and locked at a 90 degree angle as I squirmed around putting layers on and then taking them off, not able to decide whether I was too cold or too hot. Paul, the red-headed math teacher sitting beside me in seat 37B, was also seemingly agitated at my inability to regulate my body temperature. I know that his name was Paul and that he was a math teacher, not because he chose to divulge any of this information to me, but because his wife continuously used his name from the row in front of us and he continuously ignored her as he pretended to mark what looked like a stack of math tests.

My agitation immediately disappeared when I was met at the airport by Gen...

December 9, 2017

Thurs 30th - 21km

After landing at Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla Airport, Kat and I headed straight down to a small town on the northern side of Lake Chapala. The lake is Mexico’s largest freshwater lake and the principal water source for the city of Guadalajara. Its water level has been rapidly decreasing since 1979, primarily due to an increase in urban water consumption (in large part this is due to the influx of American and Canadian expats in the region putting additional pressure on the lake’s water resources).  Notwithstanding this, other factors such as expansion of agricultural development, increased sediment, regional droughts and increased evaporation (due to the lake becoming shallower) have all played a part. According to NASA, the lake is now only one-quarter of its historic capacity. The entire area of Washington DC (and then some) could fit on the land...

December 7, 2017

Tues 28th - 21km

Sandy, Irene, Wilma, Katrina – I have always wondered why the most powerful storms and hurricanes referred to in the media are given a series of decorous female names from the 1960s. Apparently this naming system started as it was less confusing to give hurricanes female names than to use the military’s phonetic alphabet or longitude and latitude coordinates. Time magazine did an interview with Norman Hagen, a U.S Weather Bureau planning official, in 1955 who explained the difficulties associated with this task. Names such as Dawn and Eve are obviously out he said, as well as weather-associated names such as Gail.

The practice of giving hurricanes female names evidently became an issue for the gender equality advocates that started speaking out in the early 1960s.  In 1970, Vice President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) Roxcy Bolton took up...

December 4, 2017

Mon 27th - 21km

I arrived in Washington DC at around midnight, having played “would you rather” with my friend Kat for 4.5 hours on a bus from New York. “Would you rather run 21kms tomorrow or go to jail” was an example of one of the pressing questions I was faced with. When we arrived at our friends Tori and Josh’s house we got a good seven hours sleep and then got up early again on Monday morning (not to do anything in particular, just because jetlag from one of the previous eight countries was beginning to set in). At 3pm we set off from the house in northwest Washington DC, down 13th street to National Mall, before stopping to get the obligatory photo outside the White House. We picked up Tori from the New Zealand Embassy en route, who ran with us for the last 15km. I lost Kat at one point, who was biking alongside me mapping the way, somewhere near the edge of Obs...

December 2, 2017

Sun 26th - 21km

Following an unexpectedly hilly route in Portugal, my body was quite sore when I got up to begin the run in New York. However, thanks to Kath’s amazing mapping skills and Connor’s aggressive bell action, we had a relatively smooth run through the crowded city streets.  I should say, relatively smooth aside from the Brooklyn Bridge, where we got told off for everything, including; running in the walking lane, biking in the bike lane and stopping too suddenly. One guy in his 60s, wearing knee-high pink socks and the name “McGavin” printed on the back of his shirt, was particularly aggrieved with our decision to cross the East River in our 4-man convoy. Pink-socks McGavin took a long, exaggerated stride off the footpath shaking his head and swearing like somehow it had been our primary intention to disrupt his 5km commute into work. I wanted to point out t...

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