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 13, 2008

    Marton-Wanganui 2008 (66.7km)

    MW2008_thNew PB and New Course Record! I recorded 7:49:31 to take 18 minutes off my previous best and over 5 minutes off the course record for solo walkers.

    Right from the start of the race my plan had been to go for the record. Two years before I had been closing on the race leader – Peter Baillie – at 55km, only to have some very big blisters develop (and some burst), reducing me to hobbling for much of the last 10km. Even so, I had finished only 12 minutes behind him.

    Going through the Lap 1/2 changeoverThis time I was aiming for the record for several months before the race. I was fitter and faster, having changed to a higher intensity training schedule, and I was mentally tougher after the Taupo 100k early in the year.

    To add to the challenge I was also walking for the Trentham United relay team. I would walk the first two legs before handing over to Jan. I needed to set a good time, but not go out so fast that I would pay for it later.

    The start was innocuous enough, and I was in with the leaders and fourth heading out of Marton Park. Over the next few km I slipped back two places, but I handed over to Jan Bliekendaal in 6th place at the end of the 2nd leg (thereby automatically demoting myself to 7th). There had been some rain part way through the first leg – enough to get thoroughly wet. But then it fined up and by part way through the 2nd leg it was quite warm.

    The 3rd leg has previously had a long gravel section, but this year much of it had been sealed. There had also been some roadworks on the 4th leg, with many of the dirt/gravel corners having been graded to the point where it felt like we were walking around the embankment of a velodrome.

    Rachael Gilberd from Taranaki Race Walking Club (TRWC) started leg 5 several minutes behind me, but caught and passed me at around 33-34km. She commented that she was not going to let me beat her when I was walking the entire event.

    By half way I could feel a blister developing on my right heel, but some inexplicable reason the car had gone on to the lap change over. Instead I was met by the other car from our relay team, which had absolutely none of my gear in it! The blister continued to progress, but when I reached the change over Michael Walton strapped my heel in an attempt to try and stop the blister developing further.

    While I was having that stop I was passed by Manawatu Striders. I managed to catch up to their walker – Sharon – early in the leg, and then we walked together for most of the lap. This brought me to the end of Leg 6 and on to Reid’s Hill. Manawatu’s next walker was quite fast, while I was starting to descend into a low patch.

    It started to rain just as I started Leg 7. My son Richard got a bit wet as he was waiting up the road with my second meal of mashed potato. I ate the mashed potato while walking, and then had a drink of Lucozade to wash it down. It was a slow slog up the Hill, and then in to more rain and cold wind at the top of the hill. Jan met me part way up the hill, again at the top, and then another km or so down the road.

    The blister on my right heel burst soon after the top of the hill. It was initially quite painful, but then settled down and felt a lot better. By the time I caught back up to Jan I was back into my stride and was picking up the pace again.

    Coming to the end of Lap 8
    Coming to the end of Lap 8
    My socks were quite wet from all the rain. I had the choice of whether to lose time by changing in to dry socks or to risk having wet socks for the next 2 hours. I decided to continue to Fordell (the start of Lap 9) and change my socks there. It was a fast and efficient change – with Bart Jones providing a chair and Jan having my dry socks and towel ready.

    By 50k I was starting to calculate the possible finish time. At 50k I was on for a time of around 7:50, and that continued to be my predicted finish time through to the end of Lap 8. After the sock change I was down to 2 minutes ahead of schedule, but I was feeling quite good.

    The gravel of Leg 9 passed without incident, although my stomach had got to the point where I could eat no more Gu and had to switch to eating mandarins.

    The end of Leg 9 arrived and it was on to the short final leg. I was feeling strong and picked up the pace. I slowed to a normal walk for 100m or so, but kept an eye on my watch and soon resumed racing. Before long it was 1km to go, then up the hill into Wanganui, and the finish. I recorded 7:49:31, 5:29 faster than the previous record of 7:55:00.

    Finish: I have the record!
    Yes! I have the record!

    The Trentham Relay Team
    The Trentham relay team. Back: Michael Walton, Sonja McLean, Richard Willis, Andrew Shelley. Front: Jan Bliekendaal.

    Thanks to Jan Bliekendaal as the main crew member and photographer, Michael Walton for strapping my heel, and Richard Shelley for assistance with crewing.

    The above photos, and more, are available on Flickr.


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