New Zealand
28th December 2019

The last part of December has been interesting - it has not been Christmas though. I've had a lovely time in Raetihi with 80+ people over the past week. I've made good friends, I've chilled and I've partied. I don't think it would have been that awful to be alone (just me and Izzy) during these festive days but I think it was definitely the right decision to gamble on this event. This all said, I will need to have a Christmas at some point. Maybe when I am in Dunedin, or maybe when I get home to the UK. I'm leaving for Wellington tomorrow and I will spend New Year there in a hostel. It is meant to be really nice there, so I will let you know how that goes.

I have met two runners in Raetihi who wanted to run with me. The first ran with me on Christmas day, but having partied the night before it wasn't the most energetic run. The second was due to run with me today but ended up not being able to. I wasn't going to let that stop me getting a good run in however, and I really wanted to run closer to the two active volcanoes in the local area. So I Hitchhiked to Ohakune (thanks to the lovely Cheyenne) and I ran the 20ish kilometres (with over 1km vertical ascent) to the Turoa ski resort. It's off-season so there wasn't much going on and the snow was light on the ground, but the view in every direction was incredible. As far as I am aware this is the highest elevation I have ever been while standing on solid ground. The run measured 45km but I think it was closer to 40km. Interestingly, I completed the run in 4 hours, 40 minutes so it was either a personal best marathon or it was on track to be a personal best marathon if I went a few kilometres further. That's crazy, considering it was up and down a legitimate mountain. Makes me feel really positive for the London Marathon in April. I finished the run back in Ohakune and got a ride back to Raetihi thanks to the lovely Gavin. A great adventure for a single afternoon and somethimg I will look back on fondly.

My new travelling friends
One of my favourite photos taken in recent time
Over the swamp with a view of Mt. Ruapehu
The trees cleared near the ski resort and the view was incredible
Turoa ski resort
Watch out for kiwis!