Welcome to my blog. The title originates when my primary athletic activity was competitive walking, but now that I am back to running it also includes that.

Not all content is accessible from the main page: for example, the rogaines, racewalking, and ultramarathon pages all include content that is only accessible from those pages.


Ultramarathons are any event longer than the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles / 42.195km. Standard distances for ultras are 50km, 50 miles, 100km, and 100 miles. There are also 12 hour and 24 hour track runs, and multi-day "stage races".

I have currently (September 2012) completed 30 ultramarathons, plus 1 DNF at about 66km at the Molesworth Run. Reports for most events are provided below.

See also


Rogaining is the sport of long distance cross-country navigation. Events can be as short as 2-3 hours or the standard 24 hours. Teamwork, endurance, competition and an appreciation for the natural environment are features of the sport. Rogaining involves both route planning and navigation between checkpoints using a variety of map types.

GN Phillips and RJ Phillips, Rogaining, 3rd ed, 2000

The two main umbrella organisations for rogaining in New Zealand are: My reports for selected events are provided below.

Hiking and Mountains

The Hiking, Trail Running, and Mountains pages are all inter-related, but with some subtle differences:
  • Hiking is not an organised race, and may include Coastal Adventures, activities in the Mountains, and hiking in other locations;
  • Trail Running covers organised events, some in the mountains, but others on local hills and trails; and
  • The Mountains category covers both events and hiking in various places that can be classed as mountains.

  • Racewalking

    Racewalking only has to meet two technical requirements:
    • no loss of contact, as judged by the human eye; and
    • the leg has to be straight from the moment of first contact until it is upright.
    More detailed rules are here.

    I'm not particularly good at racewalking, often falling foul of the straight leg rule. But I still give it a go and here are the results of my endeavours.


    This blog is primarily about my walking activities, but sometimes I do run. Here are reports for events where I have run.

    Shorter Races

    I classify events as ultramarathons, marathons, rogaines, and "shorter events". So a "shorter event" is just something that is shorter than a marathon and is not a rogaine. Consequently there's a mixed bag in here: running, racewalking, half marathons, 10k and 5k races, , etc.

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010

    Tongariro North Crater

    Tongariro's North Crater rises high above the usual tourist route and intriguingly looks to be completely flat. We had been past the crater on many occasions, but until now had never paid it a visit.

    P3310108-112 Panorama

    Our general route was:
    • Up the old Devil's staircase, now no longer marked, to rejoin the standard track at the entrance to South Crater
    • Across South Crater to a the foot of a spur that the topo map suggested would provide an alternative route to the east ridge
    • Sidle across to the saddle between the east ridge and North Crater, and from there gain access to the crater
    • Having circumnavigated the North Crater, drop down across the west face of Tongariro and exit to the Mangatepopo Valley via the stream incorrectly marked on topo maps as being soda springs.
    Our intention on this trip was to stay off track as much as possible, although we did take advantage of the Mangatepopo Valley track to speed our travel along the part we had walked many times before.

    View across South Crater to the
    spur we used to access the east ridge
    The route up the Devil's Staircase and across South Crater is straighforward. Our objective was a prominent spur to the NNE of the entrance to South Crater. We intended to travel up the gully behind the spur. At the foot of the gully we found a small spring, highlighted by a thick green bed of moss. The route up the gully did not look promising, so instead we crossed back on to the spur and travelled up the side of that. A more direct route would have been NE from the crater entrance and up the gully at the E side of the spur.

    Having gained the E ridge we travelled NW to a small saddle, which in turn provided a straightfoward route to sidle around to the wide flat saddle leading to North Crater.

    View from the east ridge across to North Crater (left) and the Blue Lake

    Blast crater with small brown "lake" on the floor
    Given that we were approaching the saddle from the E, the plan was to head around the E side of North Crater first, continuing anti-clockwise to complete the circuit. Jan changed her mind when we started to climb the rim and headed W instead. This brought us to the high point on the rim, and it was time to stop for lunch. After lunch we continued around in a clockwise direction, which soon brought us to the edge of the blast crater.

    From various points on the main crater there were views across to Lake Rotoaira, down to Ketetahi Hut and the springs, across to Blue Lake and Emerald Lake, and back to Ngaruhoe and Tongariro summit.

    Lake Rotoaira
    View down to Ketetahi Hot Springs (steam, left) and Ketetahi Hut (centre right)
    View across the brown "lake" in the main crater with Ngaruhoe behind
    Emerald Lake and side of Red Crater

    The upper reaches of the Wanganui River Valley,
    with just one small ridge between us and the descent
    into the Mangatepopo Valley
    Completing the circuit of North Crater we headed diagonally down across the face on the W side of the saddle. We dropped into the Wanganui River valley, then climbed a small ridge to look down into the Mangatepopo Valley. Our plan from here was to follow the dry stream bed down. This was intially reasonably straighforward, but hit a snag when we came across a very high dry waterfall (perhaps 20m), at which point we switched to the true left bank. A short distance further and even that seemed to become precipitous so I scouted ahead to find a route that would be more to Jan's liking. My first attempt ended in a vertical section, but the second attempt was more successful. We made our way down the spur to the true left of the stream bed and then picked up the main Mangatepopo Valley track back to the carpark.

    More photos, and larger sizes, available on Flickr.


    Post a Comment