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 12, 2009

    Marton-Wanganui 2009

    There was a field of 21 walk teams plus me. At the end of the first lap I was 5th (Stratford, Magic, Striders, Scottish Flyers, me). The second lap starts with a good climb, with the road winding up above the local water supply lake. Then there is a long downhill, and it seemed much steeper than in previous years. Somewhere on this lap I caught and passed Stratford, so moved into 4th place.

    The end of the lap 2 was quite exciting, as within about the last 800m I was passed by the 5th placed team (Taranaki), but then both of us passed the team that was in 3rd (Scottish). So I finished the second lap in 4th, clocking a cumulative time of 1:52:44 for the 16.9k, just 2 seconds slower than last year.

    The end of Lap 2. Kevin Watson waits to start
    while Vanessa Lowl, myself, and John Leonard
    finish the lap.
    Catching Taranaki on Lap 3.
    As I went through the changeover I immediately dropped to 5th again as I tagged my team mate and he sped off ahead of me. Scottish then came past, so I dropped another place to 6th. But then all three of us passed the young girl from Taranaki, so I was back up to 5th. The third lap is undulating, but presents no particular challenges. Lots of rolling hills with green pasture, and a meandering river. The end of lap 3 has a section of unsealed road, but this was well groomed and was very good to walk on.

    I went through the lap 3/4 changeover (24.2k) in 2:42:22, about midway between my time for last year (2:40:35) and my target for this year (2:42:22). Time for something more substantial than just Gu, so I had a moccona iced coffee and about 2/3 of a Cookie Time chocolate fix cookie. The road surface deteriorated significantly, with the gravel consisting of relatively large pieces of loose stone. The road on the first major climb on this section also has a very difficult camber to walk or run on. I slowly gained ground on, caught, and then passed my team mate. Back on to the sealed road and I stopped for a quick nature call, allowing her to go past again. A short section on the sealed road, and then it was time for the 2km long climb. I didn’t seem to have the same pep going up the hill as I did last year – and this is confirmed by my splits for lap 4 (49:36 for last year, 51:02 this year). David from Taranaki passed me on the final uphill, so I had both gained and lost a place and remained in 6th position. (Magic, Striders, Scottish Flyers, Taranaki, me).
    Passing my team mate (Jackie Wilson) back on the sealed part of Lap 4.
    David Wackrow from Taranaki closes in on the big hill near the end of Lap 4.

    The fifth leg has some nice downhill to recover from the big climb at the end of lap 4. I quickly caught and passed the Taranaki walker, moving up to 5th. Then my team mate came jogging past – when she was supposed to be walking. I flagged down another person from the team and asked him to “have a word”, and the Taranaki team also said something. I eventually caught back up to my team mate and passed her, so I finished leg 5 in 4th position.

    So that was all good, and I was having a good time racing against the teams, but it was soon to unravel. I went through the lap 5/6 changeover (36.2k) in 4:07:15, slightly down on my target of 4:06:03, and well down on last year’s time of 4:02:41. Last year I had to stop at this point to quickly fix some blisters, but this year there was no sign of trouble so I could just continue on.

    Richard was the next walker on my team, and he soon caught up to me. He was trying to engage me in conversation but I was starting to hurt rather a lot, and wasn’t terribly chatty. My glutes were sore, my feet were sore, my legs were sore, and my shoulders were sore. Somewhere around 40k I called for the pain killers (voltaren), but it certainly didn’t have any immediate effect. David from Taranaki caught and passed us, and then Richard picked up the pace and followed ahead with him. I went through the marathon in about 4:56:00 (4:51:30 last year). Time for another moccona iced coffee and some BackCountry Cuisine mashed potatoe. I remember being quite warm along this section and thinking that I should take my polypro off, but converting the thought to action seemed to difficult, so I just kept on going.

    The trudge up Reids Hill.
    Through the lap 6/7 changeover (44.4k) in 5:05:51. I was no longer able to mentally keep track of my position, but I must have been in 6th place. Lap 7 is short at just 2.8km, but climbs about 150m. I made my way slowly up the hill, and was passed by a woman from Taranaki’s 2nd team. I think the first solo runner also passed me on the hill. Emerging from the top of the hill I started to feel a bit better and picked up the pace a bit more. There was also a pleasant breeze on this section which also helped. Through to the end of lap 8 and I seemed to have recovered somewhat. 6:09:10 for 52.8k (6:05:46 last year, target of 6:10:23 for this year).

    Lap 9 is quite tough. Another section of gravel road, with large diameter gravel that is quite deep. Walking or running in the wheel tracks is essential. Only a few hundred metres into the lap there is a long , steep downhill. As I was heading down this section I felt a blister pop between the big toe and second toe on my left foot. It stung a bit, but didn’t make a huge amount of difference to my pace. I alternated between feeling generally ok and just wishing it was over. Simon Clendon came running past on this section, pretty much looking as fresh as a daisy. David from one of Scottish Harrier’s teams came also came waling past. At around about 59km I felt another blister pop – this time on the outside edge of my left heel.

    Through the lap 9/10 changeover (60.3km) in 7:14:31, just 21 seconds slower than my target. Just 5.8km to go. I grabbed a couple of snakes lollies to eat and kept on my way. The Scottish team was just ahead of me. For the first couple of km I managed to maintain the distance, but then their walker slowly pulled away. With perhaps no more than 1km to go, Peter Baillie from the last of the Scottish teams came walking past. Heading ‘round the final corner it was time to pick up the pace for the finishing sprint. Across the line in 7:55:45.

    Thanks to Jan Bliekendaal for crewing and for the photos.

    These photos and more can be found on Flickr


    Tom said...

    Top effort Andrew and a great account of the event. Seems like quite a tough day overall and you finished strongly. Love the photos too.

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