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, September 14, 2002

    Marton-Wanganui Ultra, 68.1km

    Diane Kowaleski, Andrew Shelley, Gill McNaught (2 person team),
    Margaret Hazelwood, Des Hussey, Steve Bligh, Ashley Smith,
    Dave Penfold (2 person team), Kym Black
    A very pleasant and picturesque rural course, with lengthy stretches beside meandering rivers. There were some fairly significant "undulations" on the course, including a few rather large hills. Went through the marathon in 4:04:27, and finished the ultra 4th (out of 7) in in a time of 6:35:40. I was hoping to run 6:00 per km, and managed 5:59 per km on the day. No blisters, no chafing, but hamstrings and quads were quite sore the next day.

    After an atrocious last two weeks, the race day was finally on us. Two weeks out I had strained my right ankle in a 14km road race, but that seemed to be OK by now. One week out I had picked up a heavy head cold, and over the last few days it had descended to my chest. Over the last couple of nights the youngest son had also kept us awake half the night coughing, and I only managed a total of only 5-6 hours the night before the race.

    The alarm on my watch went off at 5am, and race day was upon us. I cooked and ate breakfast, and then ensured that supplies were appropriately packed for the day, and put all our gear in the car. It was a very cold start to the day - there was a layer of ice on the car and rain (hail?) that had fallen during the night had frozen into lumps. However, the day was beautiful and sunny, and the ice had melted by the time it was time to leave for the start.

    As is usual for ultra-distance races, there was only a small group of us running this event. There were seven solo runners and two two-person teams. With such a small gathering, we all introduced ourselves at the start of the race briefing. The field comprised:
  • two veteran ultra-distance competitors - Ashley Smith and Margaret Hazelwood (this was her 104th ultra-distance event);
  • two novices - Kym Black from Wanganui Harriers, and me; and
  • three others who had all run at least one other ultra distance race - Steve Bligh from my harrier club, Diane Kowalewski who was training for the 127km around Mt Taranaki in November, and Des Hussey who was "making a comeback".

  • The air temperature was still quite cold, so I started running with a long sleeve polypro under my singlet. By half way through lap 1 I was getting quite warm, but kept my polypro on until early in lap 2. However, the air temperature was quite cool, and I kept swapping between putting the polypro on and taking it off.

    Met up with Angelene for the first time at the end of lap 2 (17.1km) for a drink of chicken soup. Angelene went ahead to 20km so that I could get a time check. The 20km came up in 1:50:18 - almost ten minutes ahead of schedule. I had been feeling hungry over the last couple of km, so I took the opportunity to eat a Powerbar. I also found that the Leppin Enduro that I was trialling was working very well, so I gave Angelene instructions for making up additional bottles. This break cost me 2:22, allowing Kym Black to catch and pass me. As I walked along eating my Powerbar, Des Hussey also caught me. However, I soon pulled away from him when we reached a hill and were both walking.

    The River, Leg 3
    There was some beautiful scenery around this part of the course, with some amazing patterns carved into the cliffs by the river, and some very picturesque scenes with the river and the countryside. This section of the course also had what I consider this to be just about the ideal running surface - was a well-travelled gravel road. This surface doesn't have the impact of a sealed road, and the wheel tracks provide a nice smooth surface to run on.

    By the start of lap 3 (24.5km, 2:14:23) the top of my hamstrings were starting to feel tight and sore. This was not a particularly good sign only one third of the way into the race. However, As we approached the late 20s I found myself feeling good; I was walking the uphills quickly, and running the flats and downhills well. As I approached the 30km point (on a fairly big hill), I caught sight of Steve Bligh ahead of me. He had disappeared into the distance early on in the race, and now he was within striking distance. This spurred me on, and I started to race. I knew I shouldn't have been racing yet, but I was feeling good. During this period I caught and passed Kym Black, Steve Bligh (who was suffering from cramps), and Dave Penfold who was running as part of a two-person team.

    Somewhere near 34km.
    I stopped for "lunch" at 34km. This consisted of another cup of chicken soup and most of a bottle of Lucozade. I regretted this for a few km, as I was feeling a little bloated and didn't feel like drinking anything until much closer to 40km. Steve and Kym both passed me as I stopped for lunch, but I caught them both again within a few more km.

    Had a scare at about 3:30, when my left hip joint suddenly became very sore. I was concerned that this might spell the end of my race. However, a few minutes down the road, and it had improved substantially.

    I went through the marathon in 4:04:27, but my legs were reasonably sore by now. The first of the relay runners also came past at this point. Soon after the marathon distance, the dreaded Reid's hill began - listed in the course description as "a solid climb of 2.5km". I was walking this hill, so it wasn't too bad for me at all. Part way up this hill I was passed by the support car for my harrier club's "A" relay team. I ran well from the top of the hill, and it wasn't until several km down the road that I was passed by the runner from the team.

    By 50km my legs were quite sore, and the long walk up Reid's hill had eaten into my time buffer. Whereas I was still 10 minutes ahead of schedule at 40km, I was now only 5 minutes ahead of schedule. I had slowed to less than my goal pace of 10km per hour. I took my last cup of chicken soup at 50km, and drank it as I walked down the road. From 50km through to 60km was tough, but I was still running well and my splits for this period show that I was still keeping to my goal pace. From 60km was very tough - I was walking a lot more than I was running, and even my walking pace had slowed. At somewhere around 62km Kym Black caught and passed me. He had run virtually the entire way and was still running, whereas I was now having significant walking breaks.

    The Finish
    Up to 55km, Angelene had been stopping at approximately 5km intervals. I now asked her to stop at 58km, and from there at 2km intervals. I had a drink of Coca Cola at 58km and 60km, then water at 62km. The last stop was at 64.2km, at which point a woman from Wanganui Harriers informed us that it was only about 2km to the finish, and it was all downhill. I ran the rest of the way in to the finish, but there was a very steep downhill that severely challenged my quads.

    There was a large contingent of our club walking teams waiting at the finish line, as well as the solo runners who had already finished - Ashley Smith (6:05:42), Margaret Hazelwood (6:15:02), and Kym Black (6:29:59). I was very surprised at how quickly I recovered after I had crossed the line - certainly a lot faster than I did on my first two marathons. I was sore, but not unduly fatigued.

  • Breakfast - bacon and fried eggs on toast, followed by a cup of coffee. Finished breakfast by 5:50am - a good 2.5 hours before the start of the race.
  • During the race - 3 x cup of chicken soup; 1 Powerbar; 1 Leppin squeezy; 1 bottle Lucozade; 1 355ml bottle Coca Cola; 1.5 litres Leppin Enduro.

  • Lessons:
  • Wear sunblock. 6.5 hours in the sun is a long time! (And I picked up a touch of sunburn).
  • Leppin Enduro is great. The lemon-lime flavour tastes good, and it's a good way to keep up the intake of carbs and electrolytes. Going on past performances, I had expected to use at least half a dozen Leppin squeezies and several gels, but the combination of chicken soup and Enduro seemed to eliminate the need for these.
  • Lubricate with 555 to prevent chafing - this worked really well, and I had absolutely no chafing problems.

  • The aftermath:
    Sore hamstrings and quads, and a stiff and sore right ankle. However, no blisters (all the usual spots had been taped). Went for a 4km walk the next morning to help loosen my legs, but they were still tight and sore throughout the day.


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