Studying in New Zealand has been an incredibly insightful experience and the roads and trails of Rotorua have been an added perk.
As an amateur runner, I love that the city is one big running adventure playground. From the hills of the Whakarewarewa Forest to the boiling mud pools of Sulphur Point, there is no shortage of enchanting scenery and challenging terrain.
When I decided to study in New Zealand, I wanted to stay in a place similar to my hometown. I am from Baguio in the Philippines, a city with just about the same climate as Rotorua, perhaps a little warmer when compared to the mild New Zealand winter.
Training for the 2017 Rotorua Marathon
To balance the value of a sound mind and body with the right environment I sought the help of my educational advisors back home to determine the most suitable location for my family's lifestyle. With their recommendations, I was delighted to find that Rotorua is home to the Rotorua Marathon, New Zealand's premier marathon course that runs along a single loop around Lake Rotorua. I immediately signed up after receiving my offer of a place from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, where I am currently studying adult teaching. Being new to the city, I remained on the roads so that I could easily track my progress.
The Redwoods and the Whakarewarewa Forest
Running post-marathon required surfaces that are easier on the legs and feet. This required me to stay off roads and head to the trails. The fire roads, single-track paths and other trails of the Redwoods and the Whakarewarewa Forest offer not only challenging runs but also breathtaking views of towering trees and majestic hills. Challenging hills are compensated by downhills or flats that provide relief, making for an excellent workout. Whenever I battle a climb, I always imagine the reward of basking in the magnificent view from the top. Truly, the view of Rotorua from Whaka Point shows the geothermal wonder that is this city.
Road to Tauranga
Today, in the middle of winter, I brave the cold mornings as I train for the inaugural Tauranga International Marathon happening in October. I believe that the best way to see a new place is on foot, and I am seeing New Zealand one marathon at a time. Onwards to Tauranga!