Oamaru

June 29, 2016
Dougal Allan

A few weeks back Amy and I decided we would like to make the shift to Oamaru. We will sell our house in Albert Town and make a fresh start 230km away out on the coast. I was a little surprised at how many people became surprised and interested in why we had come to this decision. But I guess it makes sense as Wanaka is undoubtedly a paradise that very few would ever consider leaving. When I first moved here in 2009 I swore I would never leave. But times change and we are now really excited about finding our way to our new home town in August.

So why move from Wanaka to Oamaru? Well, since you asked…

Wanaka has changed a lot in the 7-8 years we have lived here. There is no longer a shoulder season for example. It is hectic 365 days of the year. For good reason, this place is an outdoor mecca. It has been an unbeatable training ground, with the exception of some scary moments cycling on the increasingly busy roads, and a completely inadequate swimming pool that the council have managed to talk their way out of upgrading for over a decade. But I am really going to miss all the amazing trails and the lake for running, biking and swimming. More than anything though, I will miss the people that I have met through training in Wanaka. The swim squad, the cyclists, the kayakers and the runners here make Wanaka feel like a genuine high performance centre for endurance.

Flynn and his sister (due September) will still get to visit Wanaka, but we see Oamaru as more of a real-world for them to grow up in. It will also be a world that I can be more involved with them in, as we won’t be trying so hard to keep up with the pace and expense that are difficult to avoid in Wanaka. When Amy and I discuss what is important to us in a town, the key things that pop up are schools, open spaces for kids and dogs to be set free, happy people, nice weather, an affordable lifestyle and a relaxed pace of life. Oamaru ticks all the boxes. It really has everything we would look for in a place to live. Its is twice the population of Wanaka, but I’d swear it was less. It has quiet beaches that stretch for miles and walking trails that undulate through rural areas. It has a fantastic pool. It has supermarkets that sell capsicum for less than $5 each (can you believe it?!).

Anyone we have so far met from Oamaru is awesome. I am pretty excited to be offering strength classes for the endurance types in town and the response has already been fantastic. The locals make good coffee too which is essential.

The area surrounding Oamaru is also spectacular. The lakes (Aviemore and Benmore) are sensational. Herbert Forest for mountain biking and trail running. Did I mention the beaches? And Dunedin is a hundred kilometres away if needed. Wanaka is also an easy drive and we are sure to continue to spend time here visiting friends and for me to prepare to try and defend my Challenge Wanaka title. I will also look to make use of my local sponsors Black Peaks Cycles, Wanaka Sports Massage and Wanaka Physiotherapy while in town on each occasion too!

So, there you have it. All going well we will be in Oamaru by the start of August. My next race is Ironman 70.3 Hefei in China in October followed by another Ironman 70.3 in Xiamen in China a month later. Plenty to do between now and then but I am as excited and motivated as ever and have a feeling that my recent and first real off-season in years will have me set to take things to a new level by summer. Can’t wait. See you all along the way!

Dougal