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 10, 2005

    Walking the Marton Wanganui Ultra, 2005

    I started at 7am with 22 relay teams. For the previous three years I had entered as a solo runner, so started well after the walking teams and well before the running teams. Starting at the same time as the walking teams added an extra dimension to the day, with fantastic support being provided by the walking teams as I came through the change-over points for the relay, and also out on course.

    The walkers' start on the main street of Marton.

    The first 10-15km was enjoyable, with lots of other walkers around, and everyone feeling fresh. Particularly memorable occasions were being clapped into the change over points for legs 2, 3. On lap 3 I found that the slower pace of walking was leading to some disorientation. My mind was telling me that given the elapsed time I should be further along the course than I actually was. I reached the half marathon mark in 2:30:39 – a healthy margin up on my target time of 2:37:10. I was now travelling along the undulating and picturesque section of gravel road that lasts from about 20-26km. I had my first meal of mashed potato at 23km, and then reached 25km in just 4 seconds over 3 hours. Coming off the gravel it’s not far until the small bridge that marks the long 3.5km climb up to the 30km mark – a stretch that I’ve always walked even when running the event!

    Somehow Wanganui Harriers managed to book good weather for the fourth year in a row. The day started off cool and clear, with the promise of warm temperatures later in the day. I kept my long sleeve polypro on until the long hill leading up to 30km, although I probably could have shed it sooner. Not long after that some large patches of cloud came over, and I wondered for a good 10km whether I should have left my polypro on. However, it soon fined up again, and I enjoyed uninterrupted sunshine to the finish.

    As I neared 35km I was surprised to see the support crew of Kym Black, one of the solo runners. As I passed through 35km I was caught by Albie Jane, with Kym hot on his heels. Albie and Kym were in a great tussle for the lead of the solo run, but Kym would eventually take the honours.

    Earlier in the year I had run the Marlborough 50, but in so doing sustained a knee injury that had hampered my training for the rest of the year. Only five weeks out from the Marton-Wanganui my knee still hadn’t come right, so it was time to change plan. I decided to walk instead of run. However, the late change of plan came at a price – come race day I had the aerobic fitness from my running, but had only done one long (40k) walk, two moderately long walks, and two moderately long runs. I was now fighting increasingly sore hips (probably the glute med) – most likely a direct result of not enough walking training.

    Slow going up Reid's Hill
    Not long after 35km everything started to unravel. The sore hips were taking a toll, and my pace slowed to what it had been on the 3.5km long hill, but this time I was on the flat! By the time I got to 40km I was also feeling a little dizzy. I slowed even further on the way to 42.2 – I knew I was in trouble and deliberately slowed my pace to see whether I might be able to recover. A meal was planned for 50km, but I asked Jan to bring it forward to 45km. I also asked for some voltaren pain killers to see whether that would do the trick.

    45km was only a few hundred metres up Reid’s Hill, and it felt like I was down to a slow plod by the time I reached Jan. I downed two pain killers followed by the mashed potato. By the time I was at the top of the hill I was starting to feel better, although the charts show that my pace didn’t really improve much until about the 50km mark.

    From perhaps 48km through to about 60km I felt like I had a second wind. My head was clear, the hip pain all but disappeared, and my pace picked up again. This was great! And it was the first time I had experienced the fabled second wind.

    Some of the local residents along Leg 9
    Along the gravel road on Leg 9
    Lap 9 is back on to the gravel road, with a long and fairly steep downhill near the beginning. The downhill proved to be my undoing, as I could feel blisters developing under both heels, just in front of the ball of my right foot, and on my left big toe. And I still had around 13km to go!! Never mind, I pushed on and caught two women who had been a little way in front of me, then kept going and opened up a good lead. My pace still wasn’t as fast as earlier in the day, and one of the ladies from Walk For Health caught and passed me, and opened up a sizeable lead.

    Back on to the sealed road and then a big lift as the walkers clapped me in to the transition area for lap 10. Two walking teams were perhaps 200-300m in front. 6km to go, and I thought I should be able to catch them. I closed in on the last Walk For Health walker, but the guy in the white T-shirt pulled away. There was a limit to how fast I could walk on increasingly sore feet!

    With about 3km to go Roger Morrison (the Race Director) pulled alongside in his car to ask how it was all going. He informed me that Morgan Garandel, a Frenchman, was only a short way behind me, but was feeling quite sore. That did leave me wondering just who doesn’t feel sore at the end of an ultramarathon!! In due course Morgan passed me, then stopped to walk a short way up the road. Then he was off again and slowly pulled away. Most impressive of all, Morgan appeared to have been self-supported on the run, carrying all his supplies in a small backpack. I was to find out many years later (December 2009) that Morgan was running with a stress fracture in his pelvis, only he didn't know it at the time.

    The Finish!
    And finally I was there… Up the last rise in to Wanganui, around the corner, and over the bridge over the railway. Once again the walkers were there to clap me in to the finish – particularly those from Walk For Health. Thanks everyone for a great day!

    Solo Runners:
    Kym Black5:34:57
    Albie Jane5:58:17
    Ashley Smith6:27:39
    Dennis Jordan6:27:39
    Morgan Garandel6:54:27
    Maura Skilton7:06:27
    Dianne Kowalewski7:22:01
    Michael Hoogeveen7:29:46
    Solo Walkers:
    Andrew Shelley8:23:10


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