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, May 19, 2001

    Autumn Mist Rogaine

    The day started a little before 3am as we were woken by wind buffeting our tent. We could feel the wind starting to lift the tent a bit, and we didn't think we would be able to get much sleep for the rest of the night. When I felt a tent pole pressing against my leg I knew it was time to get up. We quickly got dressed and got out of the tent. The wind was blowing the side of the tent down at about a 30 degree angle to the ground. There was nothing for it but to pack up the tent and head for the woolshed.

    Kevin tapes his feet at 4am in the woolshed.
    We proceeded to make up our breakfast. We shared one of the modern dried meals - a "cooked breakfast" - and then I had an additional plate of muesli. The cooked breakfast was surprisingly tasty, although it was a little salty. After breakfast we proceeded to tape our feet in preparation for the day. The picture at the right shows Kevin taping all of the toes on his right foot.

    Kevin was a little worried about whether we were supposed to be in the woolshed so early. He needn't have worried - after we had been in there for about an hour, one of the organisers came in and said that she was really pleased to see the lights on, as she hadn't slept much since about 1am and was glad to have an excuse to get up.

    Map showing our route for the day.

    We received our maps at 6am and started to plot our course. Before long it was 7am and time to start. Along with about half of the other teams, we set off towards control 19 - only 10 points, but it seemed like a fairly obvious control to collect on the way out. At that control, teams scattered in all directions, and we headed on our own towards control 46. We followed an unmarked farm track up a gully rather than climbing the steep hill to the control, and then headed roughly SSE to reach the control. From there it was downhill to another farm road, whichwe followed uphill until it was time to turn SW towards control 84, located at a trig station.

    From control 84 we headed west down a spur that would take us towards control 85. It was here that we first met some of the locals. The cattle were determined to head in exactly the same direction that we wanted to go! We dropped down to a stream beside the spur and headed out to the river flat, and from there wenegotiated our way through the electric fences to control 85, which was located beside a farm shed.

    03_LocalResidents 04_KevinDrinking
    Above: Kevin drinking.
    Top left: some of the local residents.
    Left: trees on the ridge heading to Control 62.
    Bottom left: Kevin descending.

    At this point we made our big route-planning mistake of the day. We headed up the hill towards control 18 (beside a pond), then headed around the top of a gully and all the way back down again to control 62 (stream junction). Having collected control 62, we then turned around and climbed all the way back up again to the top of the hill and headed down the other side towards control 47 (fence/stream junction). A much more sane strategy would have been to collect control 62 first, maybe collect control 18 when we were at the top of the hill, and then proceed to control 47.

    Me descending to the stream leading to Control 62.
    Me clipping Control 62.

    Control 47 proved a little difficult to find - not because it was in a difficult place, but simply because we mis-judged distance travelled. We thought we had travelled further than we really had, and ended up wondering why we had missed the control. In the end we climbed to the top of a nearby hill to re-orient ourselves. We eventually found the control and then continued further downstream to find a sunny spot for lunch. Lunch was another modern dried meal: yoghurt and muesli with apples, all reconstituted with cold water. Another miracle of modern technology - it tasted great!

    The woolshed at Control 28.
    From Control 47 it was a relatively straightforward journey to Control 27 (fence junction), then up the road to Control 28 (woolshed). From Control 28, we followed a farm track around to near Control 37. From Control 37 it was across a paddock, over a fence, and along a creek until we were close to Control 63. As we were approaching Control 63 we started to meet a lot of other people who were doing the shorter course options. Our navigation was spot on, and we managed to find the control pretty well straight away.

    From Control 63 we headed up the steep sides of a gully in the general direction of Control 61 (old water tank). The terrain in this area was very steep and we may not havechosen the best route. As we got close to a farm road that would lead to the water tank, we saw a concrete water tank next to the road in the distance. We headed straight for the water tank, only to find it was not the one that wewere after. We were still heading in the right direction, and were now on an easy road rather than traversing steep hills. We went up the road and then followed a stream until we reached the control - an old corrugated iron water tank.

    Sunset on the way to Control 61.

    It was starting to get dark and cold by this point, so we stopped to put on some extra clothing and put on our headlamps. Our next stop was Control 26, but before we could get there we had to climb a saddle in front of us. I was starting to feel quite tired by now, so I ate an energy gel on the way up. At the top of the saddle we emerged back in to the strong, cold wind. We stopped so that Kevin could put on his windproof pants. I was already wearing my long johns (and had done so all day), and they were generally warm enough. We sidled around a stand of bush and down a fence line to reach the pond where Control 26 was located.

    From here it all looked pretty straight forward - just follow a compass bearing until we hit a fence perpendicular to our path, then turn left and walk along the fence until coming to a stream, which was where Control 11 should be. Then it was just a case of keeping going straight ahead to the woolshed. Barely a couple of hundred metres from Control 26 and it all started to go wrong. First, we found a fence at completely the wrong angle, then we found a stream where we didn't expect to find one. It was completely unclear where exactly we were, and we tried a few very hilly diversions to see if they offered a more promising way home. A glance at the lights bobbing down the hill behind us told us that we were right to follow the stream, but we had no idea where we would end up. Finally we reached the fence … the stream we were following intersected the fence, and there was Control 11. From there it was a straight line across recently ploughed ground to reach the woolshed and the finish.

    • Check, double-check, and triple-check the intended route.
    • Never climb to get a low-value control, descend to get a high value control, and then climb back up again when one climb would be sufficient!
    • When already high, stay high for as long as possible.
    • "Gut feel" navigation can work in open country until fatigue sets in. After that (or in the dark or in bush), the compass is essential.
    • Check the map very very carefully at night. After the event we found that the stream leading to Control 11 was clearly marked on the map. Whether through tiredness, poor light, or carelessness in our hurry to get home, we had missed it when we checked the map out on the course.


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