Something pretty amazing happened over Labour Weekend here in Wellington. Mike and Ewa, of Wellington Running Meetup fame and all-round beautiful humans, spent much of their 2017 organising a 48 hour extravaganza of running. It was for runners, by runners. As two of those fellow runners we’ll try to capture a little of the magic that happened over the weekend.
On the programme were two stacked days. These alternated between talks, hands-on workshops, smaller break-out sessions and the serendipitous conversations between; crowned with a dinner, craft beer sampling and the Reel Wild film night. There are notebooks now filled with screeds and screeds of notes, including one of our own running journals enthusiastically marked with capital letters and underlining and exclamation marks of energy.
If we tried to capture all of this, you’d be reading for thousands of words while barely skimming the surface of the wisdom.
So, inspired by Billy Yang, here are small snippets from the sessions we attended, distilled into The One Thing. He captured his life in 2016 in his spectacularly connecting way as ever, “as true a thing as I can state about who I am and strive to be on a daily basis”.
Saturday – Day 1
Sally McRae / Yellowrunner
We are always in forward motion, we are connectors, we are runners, we have made it through the darkness in order to become who we are in this very moment – “Believe that the best is always yet to come”, and that this is bigger than any of us.
Distilling the training essentials down to principles that everyone can follow, and customised to them. It’s what motivates you – no one else, but you – and understanding that the goal is not the end point but the progression.
Gayle Snyders’ workshop
Bodies are amazing, everything is connected, irritability in one place will impact the systems throughout, so treat it kindly. Lots of specifics here around ongoing positive things including mobility – “you don’t need self-control, you need good habits”.
Channel the science! Be smart in collecting research driven information, and then methodical in testing things for yourself including writing it all down. This was a firehose of relevant, specific, actionable information. Insider tip: Wellington is now very convinced of the merits of 500 ml water + 1tsp maple syrup + 1/16th tsp salt for positive hydration impact.
Alex Asher / Tim Sutton
Believe that you can, with grit and good grace, and the rest follows. Inspiration by the backpack-full, here propelling room full of future explorers.
This is life direct from the heart: Billy’s films are works of beauty in the stories and colour and connection and depth, and his own story shone of possibility with purpose. “Commit to the journey, not to the speed, because your why is stronger than your speed”.
Reel Wild Film Night
Tales of adventure, beauty and grit that would tempt any runner to take on new challenges. But the real heroes are the dedicated people and communities that make it all happen: the crew, the race directors, the trail builders and the passionate runners inspiring the next generation.
Sunday – Day 2
Presence of speed does not mean a runner is economical, nor does the absence of speed mean a runner is uneconomical.
Jono Wyatt hill running workshop
The fluidity of the soaring downhill (commitment required); the diligence of the propelling uphill; the strong hiking of the vertical. Arms and glutes are centre stage all the while.
Sally McRae workshop
Stand tall, stand strong!
Go about your goals on trails and in life, making every minute count.
Work on your strengths, work on your weaknesses.
Know the purpose every time you run.
“Running is the most brilliant way of showing the mind who’s boss” – Clare Allan
“Let the dark thoughts come, and then lean into gratitude” – Devon Yanko
“Find the wild” – Marianne Elliot
Live a life that is “epic enough”, one that is true to what’s really important to you (and your people), not for the external validation.
There is beauty in the movement, and of being in the moment, and this is committed to memory when it is printed.
The break out unconference sessions, including The One All About Shoes and stacked with laughter and stories.
Growing up in California life was lived barefoot; be it skating, surfing or at the park. It’s just the way it was. Barefoot running later in life was returning to those true roots.
RunFest delivered (and then some!) on an uplifting atmosphere, beautiful connections, lovely people and specific, actionable advice, which we collectively tucked away with us as we left the weekend with a full heart and lighter feet.
RunFest exists on the spirit, belief, grit, and raw hours of the people who make it so – alongside ticket sales and sponsors. Let’s keep that support going to make future years possible.
THANK YOU Ewa, Mike and crew for creating something so special.
Words with ♥ by Emma for Run Wellington – see you at next year’s RunFest in Wellington