Queenstown, New Zealand
2nd June 2021

I haven't written a blog for quite a while, not since my Te Araroa blog in early April. I suppose it's mostly because my usual Queenstown life is less interesting than the Te Araroa trail, although there is much to update on.

Firstly, a reminder of how good the UK's NHS is. I have been putting off visiting the dentist in New Zealand because it is known for being an expensive country for dental work. Early in my New Zealand adventure I felt some damage to a tooth which, whilst worrying, wasn't painful - so I decided to wait until I was back in the UK to get the work done. I take fairly good care of my teeth now, but I didn't when I was younger - frustrating! When further work became required this past month, I decided that it was too risky to continue putting it off, so I booked an appointment to see a dentist. This appointment was yesterday. As feared, I need a fair amount of dental work and the bill stretches into the thousands of dollars. There's a lesson to be learned here, but I wish I could teach it to myself 15 years ago. I must decide whether to get the work done here in New Zealand or to fly home and get the work done on the NHS. I am not finished with New Zealand and I want to stay. If there were not travel restrictions I could fly home and get the work done, then return to New Zealand - all cheaper than just getting the work done in New Zealand.

Conveniently, at a time when I have no choice but to spend big on the dentist, I have an opportunity to get free accommodation at the hotel in exchange for some out-of-hours calls when guests get locked out of their rooms. I need to have a look at the room first, but I think I will probably take this gig. I will need to move out of my current house, fortunately there's some interest in my room. It shouldn't be too much of an issue.

It wasn't planned but I ended up running a marathon every week in May. Honestly, I think the main reason I did it was because I could call it a May-rathon. The bad pun was enough to make me do it! I ran two road marathons (4 hours 8 minutes, and 3 hours 58 minutes) and I ran two mountain marathons with over 2,000 metres of vertical climbing each. It was a good learning experience - I feel a lot more confident with future marathon events. I have only run two event marathons (Southampton & Queenstown) and both have not gone how I hoped. I hope to run the Queenstown marathon again this year and hopefully it will be more successful.

The summit of Ben Lomond during my second marathon in May
The view from Mt. Scott on the Crown Range during my final marathon in May - I promise I didn't pull the trig point down!
The sun setting over the vineyards of Gibbston

I enjoyed a nice experience on the Routeburn track (one of New Zealand's great walks) last month with the Routeburn Classic running race. Approx. 200 runners ran the 32km from the Divide over to the Glenorchy side of the track in wet and chilly conditions. I volunteered as a roaming marshal and bounced between the Harris Saddle and Routeburn Falls hut. I had a lovely time and there were no problems - the other volunteers were so nice, and it was great to see some familiar faces running. The Routeburn track is so beautiful - especially the Harris Saddle during snow.

The Harris Saddle before the snow storm
The Ben Lomond track was graced with a lovely rainbow. I turned to look behind me at the perfect moment...
View of Sefferston and Moonlight creek from Ben Lomond saddle