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.

    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    Rotorua Marathon

    My initial - and publicly stated plan - was to run to 5k, then walk for 5 mins, run to the next 5k marker (i.e. 10k) and repeat until done. In practice I adopted an entirely different strategy... I started running with Heather, keeping a nice controlled pace, and when the 5k mark came around I just kept on running. In the end we stayed together for the entire event.

    We walked the hills around the back of the lake, and went through the official half way mark in about 2:16:50. However, after dropping back down on to the flat things started to unravel for both Heather and me. For my part my lack of training was starting to show: I had sore feet, tight calves, sore quads, sore glutes, and my hips were also starting to get a bit sore. Apart from one recent 21km run/walk in the hills, all my runs had been 7km-12km on trails. Apparently 12km isn't really enough if one is planning on doing a marathon! But I had the experience and mental strength from all my ultras, so I was able to keep on going.

    Coming back to running after a long break a few lessons were re-learned. One key one for me is that I will blister on the end of my 2nd toes unless I have taped properly or have gel sleeves on those toes. This was always a problem when I used to run marathons, and so it proved to be again!

    Our official time was 4:47:54, which turns out to be exactly the same time that Heather recorded last year! Thanks Heather for running with me, it was very enjoyable to have your company for the run.

    Postscript: Our GPSes both recorded the course as about 300m long. It's not entirely clear though whether this was a fault in the course measurement or a fault in the way the runners of our speed ran the course: at the 2km everyone stayed in the right hand lane, going wide around the corner, whereas in previous years this corner has always been cut. There wasn't any cones or other markers to keep us in that lane, that's just what everyone did. It's hard to see that it would have accounted for all 300m, but it must have counted for something.


    Chris Hope said...

    I'd be surprised if you managed to run do marathon in exactly 42.2km, even a certified one (which Rotorua is, by the way). GPSes aren't perfect, which doesn't help - mine had me run across a road and back during yesterday's run when I didn't.

    Also you're fairly unlikely to be able to run the route exactly where it was measured on the shortest route around each corner etc. And running around other runners and that sort of stuff all adds up.

    I got disheartened the first time I ran a half marathon wearing a GPS and it came about 500 metres over the 21.1km distance, thinking the course was measured badly. The next time I ran it a few weeks later (part of a series) I was much more careful on the corners and straights leading to the corners and only ran about 200 metres over.

    Andrew said...

    Hey Chris, interesting thing was that the 300m occurred fairly early on in the race (before 10km) and from then on the km markers were consistently out by the same amount. We've got at least four GPSes with similar readings, and with the extra distance occurring in the same section of the course.

    I'm fairly familiar with GPS errors, using mine repeatedly over the same course multiple times, and also using them for work on a 400m track. Usually if there is a distance error it can be detected on the GPS track with a wayward variation like you describe with the phantom road crossing. We don't appear to have that here.

    One possibility is the corner from Ranolf St on to Lake Rd - in previous years we have cut that corner, but this year we seemed to be directed to go wide. This would have made a bit of difference, but certainly not 300m worth.

    Chris Hope said...

    How interesting. I had a funny one at last year's Auckland Marathon. I had to stop to go to the toilet and looking at the map afterwards on the Garmin Connect website, it had me continuing to run down the road for a bit, then double back to where I was. I knew something was up when I got to the next km marker and what my GPS said was way out.

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