The event is supported by local and national sponsors including Contact Energy, who have sponsored the event since 2014. We recently sat down with Marlena Wasiak, a Senior Accounts Administrator at Contact, to find out why Contact sponsor the event and to find out a bit about her too, including what she is doing for training!
Who you are, tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Poland some 29 years ago. This is where I grew up and where my family still live. I came to New Zealand in 2013 after a few years in Surrey, England – I worked there as a management accountant. I had a great opportunity to see New Zealand from the seat of a rusty van with my partner Dave, then I fell in love with the place and decided to stay… at least for a while. I took up running last winter – my apartment was rather cold so running was a good way to keep warm in the evenings! But seriously, I found it strangely addictive and very therapeutic and now it’s a big part of my life.
Why does Contact Sponsor Great Forest Events?? What do you get out of it as an organisation?
As the second largest employer in the Horowhenua region, Contact is very proud to sponsor the Waitarere Great Forest Run Half Marathon. It’s an opportunity for us to support a community that’s so important to us, while recognising the benefits that this event has brought the Horowhenua community over the years.
What event are you signed up for? Have you done anything like this before?
I have signed up for the half marathon which is my first half, as well as my first off road race. I ran the Round the Bays 10km race and I go to the Wellington Waterfront 5k Series on Tuesday evenings, but 21km will be definitely the longest I’ve ever run before. I am very excited despite a recent injury, if worse comes to worst I’ll walk part of the trail.
How is the training going?
Training’s been great – Wellington has so much to offer for runners of any level. I particularly enjoy Otari-Wilton’s bush and the Ridgeline in Wadestown. Both are very accessible but also make you feel like you’re in complete wilderness at times. I’ve also been enjoying the Southern coast for slower, longer runs. Sadly, I strained a muscle in my left leg last week so I am trying to substitute running with swimming at the moment.
Any funny moments from training?
Every running moment is a funny moment in my case! I’ve got a very unusual running style – it’s hilarious! Plus, I do this funny thing with my right arm – I look like T-Rex.
Why should people sign up and take part in the event?
If you don't like hills and love running off-road this is perfect. A lovely trail surrounded by woodland! It also seems like a lovely family event for runners of all fitness levels and for the spectators as well. Why not book a bach on the beach and make a weekend of it?
Would you encourage others to take part??
Definitely. I first heard of the Great Forest Events from one of the marshals I met when I lived in Otaki last year. It was also recommended to me by friends in Wellington who are also taking part. Everyone speaks highly of it.
Any motivational tips or quotes for other participants?
Just have fun running and forget everything else. When I ran my first 5k I felt like a (gasping) superhero. Then every extra kilometre felt like a little victory. Which, obviously, deserved a slice of pizza. Think, extra running = extra food!!
Visit the Great Forest Events website www.greatforest.org.nz for more information.