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, January 20, 2007

    Tussock Traverse

    This was one out of the box -- entered on a whim, and little event-specific training, but I led for most of the way and was only beaten by 15s in the walk.

    Mt Ruapehu from Tukino 2WD carpark
    Entrants milling around at the start

    The start is from the 2 wheel drive car park on the Tukino skifield access road. From the start it is a steep climb for 2km up the road to the "Round the Mountain" track to Waihohonu Hut. I took off at a fast pace, and very was leading the field up the hill. The combination of the steepness and the altitude meant that I was soon gasping for breath. Shortly before the 'Round the Mountain' track Mike Peterson caught and passed me. We turned off and went through the 2km mark in 19:39 - ordinarily a slow pace, but probably about right given the steepness of the hill.

    As was to prove the pattern for the next 15km, I was faster on the the rocky downhills, and Mike was faster on the uphills. I quickly caught and passed Mike, and then kept pushing hard to open up a small lead. After a couple of minutes I quickly stopped to take the photos below.

    Across the Rangipo Desert in the direction we are travelling, 0:30:29
    Mike coming down a hill in the desert, 0:34:16
    Looking back at Mt Ruapehu, 0:56:49
    Across the desert, 0:56:54

    Mt Ngaruhoe with Mike ahead, 0:57:12. I gained the
    lead again shortly after this.
    We switched positions a couple of times as we raced across the Rangipo desert. After one long hill climb Mike had regained the lead. As we passed through a patch of low bush he slowed to get a gel from his pack, so I slipped in to the lead again. As we hit the relative flat of the dry stream beds I cranked up my tempo and opened a small lead. But the lead was only ever small, and Mike would close up again as we went up any hills. Mike was right behind me at the 8km mark, 10km mark, the Waihohonu turn off. Heading up towards Tama Saddle Mike remained behind me as we continued to make steady progress. As we reached the 14km mark I noted that we had been underway for about 1:44. A finish time of 3:30 ought to be possible: after all, I thought we had done most of the climbing and would soon be heading down hill. How wrong was I...

    Mike and I went through 16km and 17km together, but by two and a half hours in to the race I was starting to slow. At around 2:29 my right calf threatened to cramp, and at 2:33 Mike took the lead. The hills were taking their toll, and I was slowing considerably. We had a short climb, and then descended into a gully on the top of the Tama Saddle (where I took the pictures below). The climb out was very steep, and I had to stop for a breather, allowing Mike to increase his lead.

    Mt Ngaruhoe, from a gully on the Tama Saddle, 2:47:58
    Mt Ruapehu, from a gully on the Tama Saddle, 2:48:07

    Climbing out of the gully we were upon the check point at the turn off to Tama Lakes. I went past the turn off at 2:50:35. From now it should be a fast downhill to the finish. Wrong again...

    First view of the Chateau Tongariro, 3:15:37
    While it was a gentle downhill away from the saddle, there were also more dips and climbs into and out of stream gullies. I had hit the wall and was moving very slowly up the hills. The runners were walking at least twice as fast up the hills as I was. After a short while I realised what was happening and decided it was time to eat the complimentary Gu from my race pack. As I finished the Gu I crested a hill and the Chateau came in to view. I stopped to take a photo, and soon after was passed by a walker (Marco) on the downhill. This dropped me back in to third place; definitely time to keep up the pace.

    We set off at a fast pace down the hill, and I was aware of another walker right behind. I stayed close, but was soon passed by the first female walker (Linda), dropping to fourth. Yet another walker was right behind me. I stayed right on Linda's heels as the four of us continued down the hill, across a stream, and then up the other side. Across a short flat section and we arrived at the race martials at the top of the Taranaki Falls turn off. Down the steep set of steps towards Taranaki Falls, and then Marco stepped aside enough to let Linda through and then appeared to deliberately slow. I wasn't having any of that, and squeezed past him to stay on her heels.

    As we passed the 24km mark I figured that with only 3km to go I should have enough left in the tank to turn this in to a sprint to the finish. I stayed behind Linda , figuring I should save at least some of my energy for any last sprint. We soon opened a gap of perhaps 50m on the two walkers behind, and Mike was nowhere in sight.

    The finish area
    A series of switch backs brought us out of the bush and on to a gravel road through scrub. I still didn't have great hill speed, and I dropped back behind Linda. At the same time Marco caught and passed me and headed off to join Lina. By now Mike was less than 100m ahead, and appeared to have hit the wall himself. As we hit the flat I tried to pick up some speed, but was closing only very slowly on Marco and Linda.

    We were directed to turn right on to a side track, then it was very briefly through some trees and on to the lawn in front of the Chateau. Marco and Linda crossed the finish line together, and I was just 15 seconds behind. Next time I should probably start my hill training more than 2 weeks before the event!

    Top Walkers:
    Linda Dubbeldam3:54:25
    Marco Dubbeldam3:54:25
    Andrew Shelley3:54:40
    Paul Riedel3:54:54
    Mike Peterson3:55:30
    John Thompson3:56:15
    Debbie Young4:07:01
    Jansci King4:07:01
    Kevin Vicary4:12:20
    Peter Bourke4:14:05
    Jan Bliekendaal4:24:44
    Note: the table above takes account ofpersonal observations on "walkers" that were running, anddiffers from the results on the officialwebsite


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