Marlborough Marathon

"Marlborough" and "Marathon" hardly go together in my imagination, as it conjures up a picture of leathery cowboys chain-smoking Marlborough brand cigarettes as they wheeze their way around a 26-yard track, spurs jingling.  But Marlborough is also a region in the northeast corner of the south island known for dry weather, excellent vineyards, and picturesque sounds.  And it was where we headed last weekend, to run a half marathon.

“Marlborough” and “Marathon” hardly go together in my imagination, as it conjures up a picture of leathery cowboys chain-smoking Marlborough brand cigarettes as they wheeze their way around a 26-yard track, spurs jingling. But Marlborough is also a region in the northeast corner of the south island known for dry weather, excellent vineyards, and picturesque sounds. And it was where we headed last weekend, to run a half marathon.

The road up to Blenheim (town in Marlborough region) snakes along the coast near Kaikoura, and NZ drivers seem to know no caution when it comes to overtaking on blind corners or towing monstrous boats behind little sedans.  Jeremiah sputtered with disdain when this contraption zipped past us.  He definitely believes in using the right tool for the job, whatever the situation (plus, let's be honest, he just likes big trucks), and he shakes his head at overloaded puny cars that we often see towing big loads.  I have yet to see one unable to make it up a hill though....maybe a new suspension is less expensive than the fuel it takes to run a big truck here.

The road up to Blenheim (town in Marlborough region) snakes along the coast near Kaikoura, and NZ drivers seem to know no caution when it comes to overtaking on blind corners or towing monstrous boats behind little sedans. Jeremiah sputtered with disdain when this contraption zipped past us. He definitely believes in using the right tool for the job, whatever the situation (plus, let’s be honest, he just likes big trucks), and he shakes his head at overloaded puny cars that we often see towing big loads. I have yet to see one unable to make it up a hill though….maybe a new suspension is less expensive than the fuel it takes to run a big truck here.

I pushed Milo in his jogger for all my training runs, but wasn't allowed to push him in the actual half-marathon run.  Fortunately some of Jeremiah's colleagues from work came up for the weekend and generously watched over him while we ran.  We were both happy with our runs, but in completely different ways.  Jeremiah's goal was to be able to look back and say he couldn't have run it any faster--he'd given it his all.  And he did, starting with speed and running with other guys to keep pace.  My goal was to enjoy myself, and not get exhausted.  And I did, starting at the back of the pack and skimming through the cool morning air, admiring the laser-straight vineyard rows edged in roses, with the tawny hills beyond, pony tails flouncing.  When you start at the back you pass dozens of people and no one passes you, quite an ego boost.

I pushed Milo in his jogger for all my training runs, but wasn’t allowed to push him in the actual half-marathon run. Fortunately some of Jeremiah’s colleagues from work came up for the weekend and generously watched over him while we ran. We were both happy with our runs, but in completely different ways. Jeremiah’s goal was to be able to look back and say he couldn’t have run it any faster–he’d given it his all. And he did! My goal was to enjoy myself, and not get exhausted. And I did, starting at the back of the pack and skimming through the cool morning air, admiring the laser-straight vineyard rows edged in roses, with the tawny hills beyond, pony tails flouncing. When you start at the back you pass dozens of people and no one passes you, quite an ego boost. It was delicious.

There were 4 photographers set up along the race route.  A mere day or two after the race we got emails giving us links to proofs of photos of each of us, and I marveled at the technological organization that represented.  Somehow they tagged 8000+ photos with the correct names, put them with unique links on a website with purchasing information, and generated an email with a link to these personal photos.  Jeremiah is crossing the rock hop river crossing.

There were 4 photographers set up along the race route. A mere day or two after the race we got emails giving us links to proofs of photos of each of us, and I marveled at the technological organization that represented. Somehow they tagged 8000+ photos with the correct names, put them with unique links on a website with purchasing information, and generated an email with a link to these personal photos. Jeremiah is crossing the rock hop river crossing.

Cheeky Mama!  That's what Jeremiah said anyway....I thought the photographer was probably tired of exhausted runner shots and might like to add a little variety to his day.

Cheeky Mama! That’s what Jeremiah said anyway….I thought the photographer was probably tired of exhausted runner shots and might like to add a little variety to his day.

Milo enjoyed the race too, Mr. Social.  He doesn't have a shy bone in his body, and he'll give anyone a grin or a "hi five."  It makes him lovely to have in groups.

Milo enjoyed the race too, Mr. Social. He doesn’t have a shy bone in his body, and he’ll give anyone a grin or a “hi five.” It makes him lovely to have in groups.

There's that cheeky grin!

There’s that cheeky grin!

Milo is an up-and-coming photographer, at least according to him.  This is one of his shots, taken during the award ceremony when he spent a good hour using our drop-proof camera to photograph everything around him.

Milo is an up-and-coming photographer, at least according to him. This is one of his shots, taken during the award ceremony when he spent a good hour using our drop-proof camera to photograph everything around him.

The race was held at Villa Maria vineyard, and this picture was taken at a neighboring vineyard, from their old-world style tower that overlooks their vines.

The race was held at Villa Maria vineyard, and this picture was taken at a neighboring vineyard, from their old-world style tower that overlooks their vines.

Peekaboo!  There are all kinds of styles chosen by vineyards to make an impressive backdrop to their wines and wine tastings.  This one chose the Spanish look, with rosy pillars, colorful tiles, and black wrought iron.

Peekaboo! There are all kinds of styles chosen by vineyards to make an impressive backdrop to their wines and wine tastings. This one chose the Spanish look, with rosy pillars, colorful tiles, and black wrought iron.

Cherries were ready to pick in Blenheim, so on Sunday we stopped at a huge planting completely netted to keep out birds.  Lovely cherries, not a spot of brown rot to be seen.

Cherries were ready to pick in Blenheim, so on Sunday we stopped at a huge planting completely netted to keep out birds. Lovely cherries, not a spot of brown rot to be seen.

What can be more fun that eating cherries?  Why, feeding them to Daddy, of course!

What can be more fun that eating cherries? Why, feeding them to Daddy, of course!

Milo is quite a good little helper when it comes to picking cherries.  I remember picking cherries with Mommom and Poppop as a young kid.  The day was so hot that they let us take our shirts off.  We had a blast.  I'm so glad my parents and grandparents took us to pick fruit--it's a part of our heritage now, and will be a part of Milo's.

Milo is quite a good little helper when it comes to picking cherries. I remember picking cherries with Mommom and Poppop as a young kid. The day was so hot that they let us take our shirts off. We had a blast. I’m so glad my parents and grandparents took us to pick fruit–it’s a part of our heritage now, and will be a part of Milo’s.

Look at this cool little dude.  Or nerdy?  He doesn't care, he's comfortable.  We stopped at White's Bay to take a walk and let Milo play in the sand.  Later that day we emptied it out of his diaper, but it was this morning before all the cracks and crevices got clean.

Look at this cool little dude. Or nerdy? He doesn’t care, he’s comfortable. We stopped at White’s Bay to take a walk and let Milo play in the sand. Later that day we emptied it out of his diaper, but it was this morning before all the cracks and crevices got clean.

Milo kept trying to feed the gulls his cracker, but he'd throw it 4 feet in front of him, too close for the birds' liking, then get impatient and go to retrieve it.  He chased the birds in circles trying to get them to eat that cracker.  Then Daddy gave him a cookie, and before we knew it he had thrown his gourmet peanutbutter and chocolate chip cookie to the birds, who, after a short battle, consumed it in one gulp without even savoring it!  When we asked him later that day what he had thrown to the birds, he remembered quite clearly.  He yelled "COOKIE!"  repeatedly as he grinned like an imp.  I guess he felt it was worth it to loose the cookie if he got to watch the birds squabble over it.

Milo kept trying to feed the gulls his cracker, but he’d throw it 4 feet in front of him, too close for the birds’ liking, then get impatient and go to retrieve it. He chased the birds in circles trying to get them to eat that cracker. Then Daddy gave him a cookie, and before we knew it he had thrown his gourmet peanutbutter and chocolate chip cookie to the birds, who, after a short battle, consumed it in one gulp without even savoring it! When we asked him later that day what he had thrown to the birds, he remembered quite clearly. He yelled “COOKIE!” repeatedly as he grinned like an imp. I guess he felt it was worth it to loose the cookie if he got to watch the birds squabble over it.

The bluff above White's Bay looks out towards the Marlborough Sounds.  We'll be back up here at Christmas to hike the Abel Tasman.

The bluff above White’s Bay looks out towards the Marlborough Sounds. We’ll be back up here at Christmas to hike the Abel Tasman.

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6 thoughts on “Marlborough Marathon

  1. I love the colors and the concentration in the picture of Milo picking cherries. One of my favorite days at Sunnymeade was picking sour pie cherries on the ridge overlooking Lake Champlain with all of you girls and the Stewart/Cheryl family. The deep blues (sky), greens (leaves) and reds (cherries) are etched in my memory from that day.

    • And are lessons from Abi, after your outings, the reason that Molly’s kitchen today, is filled with the luscious smells of pies baking?

      • Ah well, that would make sense! I’m embarrassed to say that it didn’t occur to me to use the sweet cherries in a pie, as we’ve always used tarts…..I’ll have to try that this weekend. We made rhubarb pie, from rhubarb someone gave us recently. We left the remainders with the folks that invited us to dinner at their house with the admonishment to eat it for breakfast–breakfast pie is definitely an Abi lesson!

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