New Zealand’s own running podcast
Former Scottish runner Hayden Shearman has turned his Kiwi Running Show podcast into compulsory weekly listening for many New Zealand runners. For the last year he and his co-host Hamish Meacham have been recording and opining about all things running.
Shearman says he and Meacham started the show because they were “so amped about the Rio Olympics and needed an outlet for [their] excitement.”
“But also we realised there was a real need to celebrate the stories of Kiwis doing incredible things in running around the world and to encourage other Kiwis to follow in their footsteps,” says Shearman.
Shearman’s background in bands, music and recording gave him the technical know-how to pull the project together. The show now gets over 1000 downloads each week.
It’s not polished. Like almost all great podcasts there is a suspicion the hosts are recording it in a garage. (It turns out that I’m wrong – Shearman says it is usually recorded at a running event or down at a park or track.)
Just as broadcaster John Campbell describes every moment of decent kiwiana as “marvellous” Shearman describes every insight into running and contribution to his show as “yeah, awesome”.
And that joy for running is infectious.
The show is idiosyncratic. Shearman and Meacham don’t have researchers or show producers preparing notes for them, so their facts are often pulled from dusty corners of their memory. When Meacham says something particularly questionable I believe I can hear in the background Shearman googling on his phone to check if it is true or not.
It inspires emotion. Listening to the two of them describe a race I was at and they were not makes me wish it was talkback radio so I could ring up in an angry slather and put them right.
But it is on-the-spot in a way that very little other running coverage is. It was live at the New Zealand Cross Country Champs last year capturing the drama, and it was right beside Eliza McCartney this summer when she broke the Oceania pole vaulting record.
It’s Auckland-centric but the two hosts both have enough roots to the lower North Island that Wellington gets regular mentions.
And it often struggles to know whether it is a show sharing gossip about competitive runners or show offering a training advice for more casual runners.
It’s at its best, in my mind, when Meacham is handing out frank and sometimes caustic opinions on top runners and former runners while Shearman listens on in shock.
Shearman diplomatically describes these moments as “good cop, bad cop”.
Shearman says he’s aware of this diverse audience. He notes that people love the interviews with Nick Willis, Camille Buncombe and other elite runners but they also love the interviews with everyday runners who have done cool things.
“I bump into runners all the time who are regular listeners and it forms a part of their weekly running audio selection, which is so cool. We’ve also had overseas Kiwis thank us for keeping them in the loop. The best feedback we get is from people who have achieved a running goal and the podcast helped them get there, whether from distraction from the pain of training, or education and inspiration.”
Shearman’s favourite moment on the show so far has been the extended interview he and Meacham did with Olympic medalist Barry Magee. He hopes the future holds similar interviews with the likes of Peter Snell, John Walker and Lorraine Moller.