Pay What You Want 1/2 Marathon in Matua, Tauranga, New Zealand in the first weekend of the April School Holidays 2018

Our family of five (six if you count the running canine) love running.

Husband has got hooked on those extra specially long runs through the wild, those off road ultras. They’ve been steadily getting longer. 50 km. 62 km. The latest entry = 74 km. W T F!

I’m still into the ‘lazy 1/2’.

I’m getting slower and slower, more relaxed and happier in my running of events (no double entendre intended), and did my first ever off road half marathon through the Redwoods earlier this month. Our kids ran too. All of them (except the dog).

Which brings me to the next event we’re participating in.


THIS event has got my family excited, for a plentitude of reasons.

1) It’s in our hood. Local is ‘loco‘ is awesome.

2) Kids can enter. There’s a Matua Mile.

3) You ‘Can Pay What You Want’. How cool is that? Now running within a fun community event is not just for the ‘privileged’.

4) There’s multi distances to match where your fitness, courage or motivation are collectively or currently at. Tauranga Half Marathon, 15km, 10km, 5km, and The Matua Mile.

5) The organisers of the run are off-the-chart-ECO. They are the real deal! Check this out.

This is what their website ‘speaks’ on their “Environmental” menu.

Here’s an abridged list of the sort of environmentally sustainable practices we pledge to implement at our events:

• Reduce paper waste through promotion of online entry (target 80% enter online) & downloadable entry forms.
• Separation of waste streams to reduce waste to landfill through provision of recycling and organics bins.
• Provide information for public transport and carpooling options for participants.
• All paper used is at least 20% post-consumer recycled stock printed with non-toxic inks.
• Replace traditional race bags (AKA goodie bags) with an online or virtual version.
• No single-use disposable plastic bottles for water or sports drink distributed at the finish line.
• At least 80% of all communications through electronic media.
• Reuse at least 80% of all signage for the event.
• Utilise bicycles or electric scooters, motorcycles, or hybrid cars for pace and lead vehicles.
• Require sponsors and on-site vendors to understand and agree to meet our environmental sustainability standards.

We loved reading the “Behind Scenes” speak too:

We’re Luke and Jo, and we’re behind the PWYW Tauranga Half Marathon.

We own and operate a small event management business Event Day, from our home in the Waitakere Ranges (#saveourkauri), working around our three small girls, 5yr old Ruby Bo, and 3yr old twins Scout and Edie.

Event Day has been managing events in Tauranga and Mount Maunganui since 2010, and we are frequent visitors to the Auntys and cuzzies in The Mount.

2018 will be the first year Jo will officially be back on deck (part-time) since having babies. Previously she’s dabbled at night, working for wine and alone time. Luke is fizzing to off-load some of the to-do list.

If we won lotto we’d start a school in Piha like Bali’s Green School (, we’d install solar panels, we’d invest in other people’s sustainable and social initiatives, we’d travel with our children – around New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and to random and weird far-flung destinations.

Since we don’t buy lotto tickets, we’ll settle for finishing the chicken “zone”, finally changing the heat lamp bulb in the bathroom, our first camping trip with three kids in tow, and working our arses off to make New Zealand’s first Pay What You Want running event blow your socks off.

It’s always been our mission to make sure everyone has the best day at the events we’re involved with. To give someone an awesome experience, and memories of that, is a cool job. The finish line is our favourite place to be on event day (and coincidentally, where we met). We also like entering other people’s events too.

Oh, and we’ve won a few awards (before we had children…back when we had time for that sort of hoo-hah).
Winner – Special Events Charity Fundraising Award for Excellence 2011 (FINZ)
Winner – Best Environmentally Sustainable Event 2010 (NZAEP)
Finalist – Best Event Partnership 2010 (NZAEP)
Winner – Best Environmentally Sustainable Event 2009 (NZAEP)
Winner – Best Event Partnership 2009 (NZAEP)
Winner – Best Environmentally Sustainable Event 2008 (NZAEP).

See you at PWYW Tauranga Half Marathon 2018.

We like the way they invite us (their participants or community) to be involved in the ‘auditing’ process.

We constantly strive to reduce our impact and we hope to influence and guide our participants, sponsors and stakeholders towards positive change in the industry. 

You’ll see Fairtrade bananas at support stations; we like to work with organic/fairtrade coffee vendors; we pioneered the use of recyclable race numbers; and we manually sort our waste streams; find the right homes for all our plastics; plus we compost our organic waste.

We were one of the first event organisers to take the bold step of ditching a race pack in favour of an eRace pack while other events continue to dish up race bags filled with flyers and tiny samples in excess non-recyclable packaging.

If you see things at events (ours included) that have you shaking your head, be sure to communicate that with the organisers!  Ask to view their waste management planning documents. If you are not happy with the answers, tell others who share your feelings and vote with your feet – there are plenty of great events out there and we strongly believe events need to play their part!

We’ll wrap up by encouraging YOU to enter.

Pick a distance.

Walk it.

Run it.

Walk/Run it.

Give it a go without knowing if you can finish it!

Be curious.

Be bold.

Now is the moment to say YES.

Life is living NOW.

I’ve seen running help my Dad when he was struggling in his early 40s, when my parents’ marriage dissolved. It gave him a focus, something ‘positive’ and ’empowering’ to think about and do. I saw him shine (as his support person). I saw him strong. I saw him endeavour. It’s helped me feel stronger, more capable to surmount difficulties. I’m sure it helped me birth my three children at home without intervention. I run because i can. It doesn’t always feel comfortable. But that’s the point (says husband). It’s gonna hurt. I laughed out loud when he showed me the quote “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone.” When i watched “Suicide” The Ripple Effect” earlier this month, i came away feeling – we all could get more comfortable with pain, ours and other peoples’. We could all ‘be with pain’ more, rather than trying to push it away, ignore it, distract ourselves from it, pretend it’s not there. Many of us are in a hurry to find and be with pleasure instead. I see running helping my husband. It gives him alone time. It gives him autonomy and choice. It gives him a challenge only he gets to set. It’s not come from me, or the kids, or the dog, or ‘a list’, or his clients, or what society ‘asks’ him to do. He gets to make the rules.

YOU get to make the rules for YOUR body, your mind, your spirit.

For, running does all this.

It moves the mind, the body and the spirit.

You can run alone.

You can run with friends.

You can run with animals.

You can run with family.

You can run whilst your kids bike.

You can run with groups.

You can run with neighbours.

Your run can be fast.

Your run can be slow.

Your run can be short.

Your run can be long.

Your run can be urban.

Your run can be coastal.

Your run can be forested.

Your run can have hills.

Your run can have flats.

Your run can stop.

Your run can keep going.

I urge YOU to:

  • Pick a distance.
  • Pick an event.
  • Pay the entry fee.
  • Tell people you’ve entered.
  • Follow (to the best of your ability) your training schedule.
  • Pick clothes and shoes that help you feel the most comfortable and at ease.
  • Pick a time of the day that helps you feel the most comfortable and at ease.
    It may be in the dark, with a friend (canine or otherwise) and a headlight (not pet shops sell lights for dog’s collars).
  • Run even if it rains. NB: wearing a cap / visor keeps the raindrops from your eyes.
  • Run even if it’s cold. NB: Bivouac (Tauranga) sells 100% merino ‘Icebreaker‘ clothing. I use two 200weight tops (one with a zip) and once i’ve been running for 5 mins i’m warm as toast even in winter wind. The merino breathes and miraculously sweat feels like it doesn’t sit in the fabric as i’m running. So i don’t feel cold. Someone explain the science behind that! I also run with a ‘chute‘ and earwarmer which looks like a headband.
  • I run even when i have a cold, not the flu, mind. My theory is running helps move my mucous and move my cold on faster.
  • Turn up to the event, even if you haven’t trained.
  • Treat it like a ‘training’ run.
  • Dare yourself to FAIL.
  • Stay curious.
  • Running with people and with the energy of an event can ‘carry’ you.
  • Do your best to finish the event, even if you have to walk (backwards).
  • You’re a finisher.
    Well done.
    How does it feel?

    Here’s a running calendar with running events throughout New Zealand, Aotearoa.

    Here’s the link to enter into “Pay What You Want 1/2 Marathon (and other distances)” Sunday 15 April 2018, Matua, Tauranga, New Zealand.

    See you on the streets, in the forests, beside the rivers, along the beaches RUNNING yourself FREE.

    Written by Emily with wild & grace

    Photo credit: Alex Gorham from Unsplash.

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