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, February 16, 2008

    Taupo 100km, 2008

    Having finally made the step up to a classic length ultra-distance race, I completed (walked) the 100km in 13:45:28. It was a race with some tough sections, but I started well, finished strongly, and I am pleased to have completed it.

    In retrospect I was seriously undertrained for this event, and it showed in a slower than hoped for time (and a more painful than hoped for second half). I entered the Hutt River Trail 60km ultramarathon on insufficient training thinking "how hard can it be?", and that time I was right. In theory the 60km provided an ideal "last long workout" before the 100km. But the 60km was my only workout longer than 32km since the 50km at the NZ Long Distance Walks at the end of October.

    But there were some positives, and some "firsts", not all of which were positive:
    • I solved the blister problems that seem to plague me at around 55km-60km in shorter ultras such as Marton-Wanganui. The solution was simply to use two pairs of socks ("double socking");

    • But I hadn't intended to double sock, so I didn't have an extra-thin pair of socks with me. My shoes were too tight around the toes when I put them back on, so a few more kilometres down the road it was necessary to conduct open-toe surgery on my shoes. This was something I had read about other people doing in ultras, but was a first for me;

    • Another first for me was food not sitting well in my stomach, and Gu not being the magic bullet. Anticipating a hot day that could result in electrolyte issues, right from the start I was drinking Horley's replace, as well as eating Gu. I had tried this in training, but never over such an extended period, and with the Horley's alternating with water. The absence of plain water seemed to be the critical difference, as by 25km my stomach wasn't feeling great, and I even had difficulty eating the programmed meal of mashed potatoe. From half way (or sooner?) I switched back to plain water and away from Gu, and my stomach started to come right;

    • Back Country Cuisine sweet and sour lamb was an impulse purchase, but turned out to be just what I needed for "lunch" at about half way (about 9am); and

    • "Le Snax" crackers and cheese were another impulse purchase that turned out to be a godsend. As Gu became difficult to stomach I found that the savoury Le Snax were just what I needed.
    Feeling good 4:30 into the race

    Enough of the lessons, and on to the race. This was the earliest start for any event that I have entered. We were up at 12:30am; 1 hour to get ready and have breakfast; then driving for an hour to get to the start. Race start was at 3am. It was very, very dark out in the middle of nowhere, and with head torches the only light it was difficult to see who most of the other competitors were. I did, however, pick out Ashley Smith - almost the honorable "patron" of the Taupo ultra - as well as Simon Clendon and Vivian Cheng who I had met at the Hutt River Trail ultra.

    The first half of the race was unbelievably hilly. It seemed that we were either going up or down, and almost never flat, for most of the first 47km. While the lap distances in the course notes are only very rough approximations to the true distances, the course notes had proved a boon in being able to anticipate the impact of all those hills on pace.

    It was a little hard to guage pace early on, because the promised markers at every 10k were a bit hard to spot in the dark, and the change overs for the relay were not in the expected places. The first distance marker that we actually found was at 40k, and that was a good 800m past the point that the car said was 40km. This does make something of a difference to trying to judge how well I was doing - I was either 2:28 behind target or 8:33 behind target.

    On the Tokaanu flats I had a major stop, changing my top, putting on my heart rate monitor and GPS, collecting a full drink bottle and more Gu, and picking up my "lunch". I must have been a bit tired by this point, as the stop took a surprisingly long 7:14, which was further down time that I had not budgeted for. According to the distances in the relay handbook the 50k should be up just before the start of Leg 12, and the car agreed with this. But the official 50k was some 1.4km down the road! By then the Sweet and Sour Lamb had kicked in and I was feeling good as I headed towards 60k.

    That "up" was interrupted by some hot spots on my feet. One particular spot on my left heel was threatening to turn into a blister, so I stopped and put a patch on. That didn't work, and just a couple of km down the road I stopped again, this time to take off my existing pair of socks (damp from rain earlier in the morning) and put on two dry pairs. At the same time I switched from wearing a polypro to a singlet, and Jan applied a liberal dose of sunscreen while I was putting on the socks. The two pairs of socks fixed the problems with my heels, but at the expense of putting too much pressure on my toes. I stopped again at the end of Leg 12 to relieve the pressure by cutting across the top of the toes of my shoes. It worked! While this kept the blisters at bay for (most of) the rest of the race, and thereby must have saved considerable time, it also cost several more minutes that I hadn't budgeted for.

    Feeling less good at 12:35pm -
    somewhere a bit past 70km
    Sometime after 60k I started to have a bad patch. I slowed down considerably and my feet were very sore. When I got to the end of Leg 13 I stopped for 3:36 to eat and generally relieve some pressure from my feet. From there through 70k and on to the end of Leg 14 were also slow and not much fun. It was really hot by now and I stopped for 4:57, again to eat, but this time I also sat down on the grass for a few minutes. Sitting down was a mistake, as my quads were very stiff and sore when I started again. I struggled on and was soon overtaken by Penny Purcell, who was also walking her first 100k.

    This stretch of the race has the last of the major hill climbs - Hatepe Hill. After slogging my way up there it was onwards to the 80k mark. I had been contemplating pulling out, but 80k is so close to the finish that I can't stop now. Still not feeling great, but the gradual downhill helps. Down the steep hill to Waitahanui. The 90k mark, and soon after that I started to come right. I was now back in to my stride and began chasing down Penny. I caught her at the top of the rise heading in to Taupo, which coincided with the start of the final leg of the relay and a cold and torrential downpour. From here I worked hard all the way to the finish, widening the gap over Penny and chasing down two of the 2x50km relay teams. I caught one team with perhaps 1km to go - at around about the same time that I felt a blister pop on my left heel. I caught a second team just before the very last hill, with no more than 200m to go. And then I had finished!

    Passing through the last leg of the relay change over


    Cooling off in the Lake

    I sat down for a while and chatted with Simon Clendon, before being driven the short distance to the lake. I stood in the lake for about 10 minutes to cool my legs down and hopefully alleviate stiffness and soreness. Then it was back to the motor camp for a shower and to rest up.

    The next morning Ashley Smith organised a morning tea for the 100km athletes and support crews. It was good to catch up with previous acquaintances, meet some new people, and share stories.

    Thanks to Jan Bliekendaal for an ultra effort as crew, including putting up with the vaguaries of my stomach and taking photos.







    Simon Riley



    Michael Zo



    Cormac Peirse



    Alex McKenzie



    Dave Sutherland



    Ashley Smith



    Marion Roberts



    Lisa Tamati-Lusskandl



    Neil Wagstaff



    Ronya McConachy



    Vivian Cheng



    Simon Clendon



    Leo Gray







    Andrew Shelley



    Penny Purcell



    Karen Smart


    2 x 50km Teams:





    Age B4 Beauty






    Flow 1 and 2






    The Hopeful Two



    ATC Beta Team



    ATC Aces


    Taupo 100k Map

    Map from MapMyRun at The course was created on MapMyRun by someone called "RunnyJaffa", who just happens to have been one of the competitors in the 2008 event (but not me).


    Nigel Reed said...

    Andrew what a wonderful effort I will not ramble on I have reached 66 and recently moved to NZ and would like to get back into walking up until 2007 I was doing ultra walks for terminally ill children see initially I would like to undertake smaller distances.Would love any advice you could offer and to keep in touch Kind Regards Nigel.

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