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 20, 2010

    New NZ Best Time, 100km Walk

    This was perhaps my most satisfying race ever, setting the course record and what appears to be the fastest recorded time for a 100km walk in New Zealand. As an unjudged walk it does not qualify as a record, but it does seem to be a New Zealand "best" time.

    I went into this race with four objectives, all of which were achieved. In order, the objectives were:
    1. Better my previous time by at least an hour (12h:45m or better)
    2. Better the record for the old 100k course (faster than 12h:25m:00s)
    3. Win
    4. Better the NZ 100km walk record (faster than 12h:20m:33s)
    I also had a target time of 12h:05m if everything went right and I had the ideal race.

    Under the finish, ready for the start.
    I had some concerns about who else might compete in the race. There were three walkers who would give me cause for concern, although I reasoned that as long as I walked my own race I could probably walk them all down. For one of those walkers that would only be realistic if he pulled up injured, but that seemed a reasonable possibility at the time!

    Heading through roadworks at the top
    of the airport hill, about 15km, just
    after 2am.
    The first km was a little fast, but the next two were about right. I then started to inadvertently speed up, and my basic pace dropped below 7 min/km. There were a couple of slightly slower kilometres as I negotiated the hills into Taupo and at the end of the lap, but I was ticking along extremely well. The traffic alternated between quite heavy with lots of big trucks to being non-existent. The quiet patches provided an opportunity to look up at the stars in the clear night sky.

    I went through the first 25km in 2h:56m:35s, considerably faster than the 3h:01m:15s I needed for a 12h:05m finish.

    The runners started a quarter of an hour or so after I went through the 25km turn, so I was waiting for them to start running me down. The main flurry of runners came past as I was at the top of the hill heading out from Taupo. From the crest of the hill there was a stream of flashing red lights heading down the hill on the right from the runners, and flashing orange lights on the left from the support vehicles. It was hard to maintain pace with all the activity and runners sweeping past, and I was struggling to try and slow my pace down.

    Alex MacKenzie ("Macca") shook my hand as he went past on the flats heading into Waitahanui. It was good to see Macca back out running again after a severe stress fracture caused a premature end to his race at the Commonwealth ultradistance championships last year.

    Through the turn in 4h:23m:57s, and I had gained another 3m:15s on my target time. This was a bit of a concern, as it was possible I could blow up and be dramatically slower later. Back into Taupo and through the 50km in 5h:53m:48s, a full 8m:42s faster than I needed for 12h:05m. This was also faster than my time at the Racewalking NZ 50km in 2007 and 2009, but slower than my PB in 2008.

    Heading out of Taupo I could tell I was starting to slow . My right shin was starting to tighten and by 65km I asked Jan to quickly put some neurofen gel on it. I went through 75km in 8h:57m:59s; my margin had dropped by 3 minutes to 5m:46s. A quick mental calculation indicated that I could potentially achieve a sub-12 hour finish. The record attempt was definitely on! All I had to do was hold my pace for another 25km.

    Heading out of Taupo for the last time,
    just past 81km.
    I was somewhat rejeuvenated and was feeling good as I headed back out. Past Richard Wall at the 2k mark (=77km) and he said I was looking strong again. I powered on out of Taupo and saw Paul Charteris at the 6k drink station.

    Down the hill out of Taupo, at which point I saw Amy Campbell running back into Taupo to finish her third lap. She was looking very comfortable and like she was well in control. Amy asked how many laps I had to go and looked puzzled when I said it was the last one. We passed to quickly for me to clarify that I had started 3h:15m earlier than her, but I figured I'd say something next time we passed. I never did get to say anything more, but Amy was the 3rd woman finished.

    I was still going strong over the next 5km, but then things started to unravel. A quick stop for Jan to put some neurofen gel on the medial side of both knees. My right shin was still tight and sore, but didn't seem to be getting any worse. Through the turn in 10h:32m:17s, and my margin over 12h:05m had dropped to just 2m:06s. I was now definitely slowing, but just had to hold on. Switched to drinking coke around about here, and had a single panadeine soon after the turn.

    My left calf was now becoming increasingly tight and by the time I reached the airport hill it felt like it was in imminent danger of cramping. Half way up the hill I decided to stop and try and relax the muscle with a good squeeze. That didn't work, and if anything the muscle just felt even tighter when I started again.

    Heading back in to Taupo I crossed a number of the runners and walkers that I knew or recognised, all heading out for their last lap. Keith Still and Denise Stewart-Jacks were the 3rd and 4th placed walkers. Penny Kirkwood was Still chugging along on her first 100k, looking more comfortable than she had earlier. Simon Clendon was looking tired, but anxiously enquired whether I was still on for the record. Vivian Cheng looked like she was having a hard time of it, until she saw me and her trademark smile lit up her face.

    I was definitely deteriorating along this section and becoming progressively slower. At a little over 5k to go there was suddenly a sharp pain as a blister on my heel burst. Normally I would have just kept on going, but for some reason I instead decided to stop and dress the blister. That only lasted as far as attempting to raise my left leg to take my shoe off - my quad started cramping and that was the end of that idea.

    Giving my legs some cold water treatment after I'd finished.
    Jan told me how many minutes I had left to make my ideal time of 12h:05m. There was no chance of that, but I calculated that I could still beat 12h:20m. Counting down the minutes and the distance, Jan gave another update at 2km to go and at what must have been 1km to go. I had over 10 minutes in which to walk the last km. Past the marina one last time, up the steep little hill, on to the grass and down the finishing chute. I was finished, and a new record of 12h:16m:47s!

    Thanks to Jan for her excellent peformance as support crew.

    More photos are available on Flickr.

    Postscript: having finished I could hardly walk. My shin, in particular, was very sore. I had a light massage at the Ultra Association tent, and then went and stood in the lake. I could still hardly walk the next day, and discovered a suspicious lump that suggested I had torn my shin muscle. This was confirmed on Monday when I went to see a physiotherapist, and I was on crutches until Friday morning.


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