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, December 5, 2009

    Kepler Challenge

    Walked the 60km Kepler Challenge in 9h30m52s, placing 312 overall out of the approximately 400 starters. I was treated to spectacular views, a challenging 1840m of climb and descent, and a great social occasion.

    I laid out my gear the night before, including putting my GPS watch on the bedside table. Up at 5am, dressed, tape my feet, breakfast, grab my drink bottles, and we were off at 5:30. The start is just a short drive from Te Anau and we were there and checked in soon after 5:45. Then I realised that I did not have my watch. My watch is critical to ensuring that I keep taking in food at regular intervals, and later in the race for providing motivation. What to do? Luckily we had convinced Morgan to come through from Queenstown to join in the social side of the occasion. He was going to run up above the bushline to take photos, but didn’t particularly need his watch for that. He let me use his watch – disaster averted!

    The race starts on the control gates for Lake Te Anau and follows the track around to Brod Bay. A few small undulations, but essentially flat. The runners bottle-necked in a couple of places and there were a few times that I found myself standing still, waiting for the traffic jam to clear. The usual shin pain started to kick in along here, but the variation in pace and track gradient helped keep it from becoming too significant. Reached the Brod Bay check point in about 39 minutes.

    After Brod Bay the track begins the climb to Luxmore Hut. Very soon the runners were all walking and I was passing large numbers of them. I had done some long hills in training and I was feeling relatively strong on this section. Out of the bush, take a couple of photos, and pick up the pace to take advantage of the flatter track and excellent surface. Around the corner and there is Morgan!

    Luxmore Hut
    Luxmore Hut
    A few minutes further on and Luxmore Hut came into view. A quick photo, then eat a Gu as I walk in to the aid station in a little over 2 hours. And there was Norman Chan – a runner, but I had clearly made some time up on the climb. One cup of water, a quarter of a banana, some Leppin, grab another banana, and through to the gear check. Norman and I walked up the hill together before Norman jogged off as the track flattened out again.

    Mt Luxmore
    The track may have flattened out, but in the distance it was plain to see that there was a lot more climb to be done up around the flanks of Mount Luxmore. That section of climb was reasonably pleasant and I was chatting away to a woman who had been to Scott Base for three weeks as part of a summer course in Antarctic Studies. Through a very short section of snow, and on through more climbs.

    The scenery was absolutely spectacular. Snow capped mountains in most directions, and views down to South Fiord of Lake Te Anau and valleys. Words don’t really do it justice, so I’ll leave it to the photos…


    Forest Burn Shelter – a quick stop for water, banana, and a gu. Picked up the pace a bit, wasn’t watching where I was going, and tripped. Down I went and skinned my left knee. Luckily the damage was all superficial and did not impede my progress at all.

    Yet more climbs as I made my way around the ridgeline towards Hanging Valley Shelter (see photo at top). I was a bit tired by now and was almost as walking as slowly as the runners on the climbs! More bananas at Hanging Valley, and a quick top up for one of my bottles.

    Finally we were on the downhill – first the ridge, then several flights of steps, and then the long zigzag down to Iris Burn. I made very good time down to Iris Burn. I was expecting to get passed by lots of runners along this section, but instead kept pace with one runner, and caught two more. It wasn’t until we hit the flat that the runners seemed to have an advantage.

    Made Iris Burn Hut in 4h40. First encounter with sandflies. Some more to eat and drink, a couple of photos, then off again. Very quickly into a bit of a climb through the bush (hadn't we just come down?), then a descent, and along a relatively open grassy area until we were near the Iris Burn river. From here the track followed more or less down the Iris Burn as we made our way to Moturau Hut. An unplanned toilet stop at the hut cost me perhaps 4 to 5 minutes.

    Iris Burn
    The Iris Burn near where it flows into
    Lake Manapouri
    Moturau Hut
    Arriving at Moturau Hut

    6km to Rainbow Reach and then 10km to the finish. Rainbow Reach seemed a little surreal. Being easily accessable from the road, all of a sudden there were normal people lining the sides of the track to watch their runners coming through. No longer were we in the remote mountains! More bananas, water, and an orange segment, and off again. It had taken a little longer to get to Rainbow Reach than I expected, and with 10km to go I guessed I might be able to finish in under 9h30.

    Over the last 10km I was talking to myself to keep focussed on walking at a reasonable pace. A drink station at 5km and from there I estimated that I would be walking perhaps 9 min/km to the finish, which would bring me in at around 9h30. I kept an eye on my watch to estimate how much distance was left. At about 3km to go I caught a bunch of runners. They were the same pace as me on the flatter sections, but I was faster on the inclines. I pulled away from them before reaching the last drink station – 2.4km to go. 9 min/km was about right, and I was still on for 9h30. A sign on the trees said 2km to go. Talking to myself a lot now to keep focussed. 1km to go, and it was going to be very close. 200m to go and I cranked up the pace. In to the finish chute and the announcer made some inane comments about me not using sponsor’s product (I had powerade bottles and the event is sponsored by leppin) and about my walking style. Across the line in 9:30:52 – I was knackered!

    More photos are available on Flickr. For larger versions of any photo click on the photo to open the photo page, and then click the 'All Sizes' button.


    Paul said...

    Hi Andrew :) I remember passing you and then you passed me with a few KM to go. I ran- you walked. Go figure :D What a great day it was too. Are you back this year?

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Paul

    I've just checked your photos on Flickr... I remember you too, and remember some of those photos being taken! Don't remember quite so much from later in the race though, I was working pretty hard near the end and didn't have quite so much energy left for brain function :)

    Definitely back this year, have entered and paid. Might see you there,



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