Queenstown, New Zealand
8th October 2020

I have been putting off writing this for weeks. I know I have to talk about my 162km run but that is something which consumed my life for most of six weeks and honestly I just haven't wanted to talk about it very much. I still don't, and now I have moved on to new challenges and running goals. All I will say is that I'm extremely happy that my 100 mile run was a success, and it certainly wasn't easy - but it went better than expected and I know I am ready for whatever my next challenge may be. I have no plans for run further than 162km/100 miles anytime soon, but I suspect I will one day.

I have finally moved out of the hostel. After 173 days in Nomads hostel I have moved into a house a couple kilometres up the road. It felt just like when I moved into a new house at University. I love having space of my own and more consistency, but I miss how there was always someone to talk to in the hostel. I am now further from work and town though, and quite far up the side of the mountain. I plan to cycle to work but the return journey is really hard work with how steep the roads are. Overall, moving out has been really great.

Speaking of work, I'm continuing to work at the hotel that I have worked in since February. I plan to stay in New Zealand until March and I want to work for most of that time. It has again been fairly busy recently (I think because of school holidays) which has meant good hours. My visa is expiring at the end of this month and I am trying to extend it as quickly as I can, but the process is purposefully expensive and convoluted. It should be fine, as long as there are no bumps in the road.

There's a photo on the wall of the well known Queenstown burger joint, Furgburger, showing Queenstown covered in a layer of snow. Since I got to Queenstown I have been eagerly waiting for this snowy-wonderland to be the reality, but it turns out that it is only a reality that occurs every five years or so. Disappointed, I resigned to the likelihood that I wouldn't see a snowy Queenstown since now winter is over and Spring has sprung. However, a week ago a miracle occurred and overnight the town was turned into a winter wonderland. I was supposed to be working that day, but I wasn't able to make it into work without walking two hours through the snow. I decided to take the opportunity to run up to the top of the gondola to get a view of the town just like the one in Furgburger. It was well worth it, the picture is one of my absolute favourites.

For months I have been attempting to climb up and down Ben Lomond (mountain, 1748m) in less than two hours. I have now attempted it three times. Firstly I wasn't able to reach the summit due to excessive snow. Second attempt I completed the climb on 2 hours 13 minutes. Third attempt, this morning, I completed the climb in 2 hours 13 minutes, again. I am more sure than ever that sub-2 hours is possible for me, but I think it's really going to take me giving 100%. I had a second objective with this mornings run which was the make the summit for sunrise. My friends are no longer surprised when I tell them my crazy running plans! So, I left the house at 5:15am this morning and made the climb up on time for the 7am sunrise. I didn't expect a view since I spent the final leg of the climb inside a cloud but I was treated with a short window of being between two layers of clouds with a view of the sun rising in the distance. I absolutely love the photos I got in those few minutes. I wasn't able to stay on the summit very long anyway, it was extremely cold.

Another exciting running event this week is my first volunteer experience at the Queenstown parkrun. I have a Saturday off for the first time (maybe ever?) and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to get involved with the local running community. I will be a marshall, so I get to stand for an hour directing people to the left. Or maybe to the right. Hope it's not too chilly!

Looking down on Dispute Lake during my 100 mile run
A rare moment of blue sky
Running alongside Lake Dispute
A got lost a few minutes before this photo
The new house!
Finally the snow wonderland I dreamed of
Snowing up the Tiki trail
Ben Lomond summit sunrise
Barely had two minutes of not being inside of a cloud
I Iove this photo!