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.

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Pukekaikiore (Hogsback)

    Two days after Tongariro's North Crater we were back to do a partial circumnavigation of Pukekaikiore, a smaller mountain that seems to be largely ignored in the shadow of its larger neighbours.

    The day before I set up waypoints for my GPS, based solely on what looked like a good route from the topo map. But the topo map doesn't mark lava flows, and it doesn't mark vegetation. The latter in particular would come back to bite us at the end of the day.

    After logging our intentions at the Mangatepopo hut we backtracked just a few metres back towards the carpark, where an obvious well-trod route led from the main track towards the base of Pukekaikiore. Travel along here was straightforward: the route was, for the most part, easily visible, and we gained height at a steady rate.

    The first surprise came as a very obvious and well used section of track ended abruptly against the end of a flow of black scoria. It was far from obvious where the "correct" route was, so we elected to just head forwards through the scoria. Out the other end we regained the track, although it was often less distinct than before.

    We were soon at the end of another scoria flow, with the choice of going either right along the boundary between the scoria and Pukekaikiore, or left up a clear "lane" between two flows. Reasoning that the clear lane would be easier travel than clambering over scoria and rocks, we elected to go left. It soon became apparent that we had made the wrong choice, as the lane came to a dead end and we had to pick our way across the scoria back to a clear area beside Pukekaikiore.

    Another flow of black scoria butted up against Pukekaikiore just ahead, and this time there was a very obvious path. Out into another clearing and there was just one more flow of scoria that marked the saddle between Pukekaikiore and Ngaruhoe. The path climbed the side of Pukekaikiore to the saddle. There were spectacular views of Ruapehu from the saddle, and we could also look down and see the significant height that we would lose as we made our way around to the foot of the southern ridge.

    P4020111 View of Ruapehu from saddle
    Ruapehu from the saddle.
    View down to the south ridge - the obvious spur at
    the top right of the picture.

    A steep descent down the side of the scoria flow and then a largely flat walk around to the bottom of the south ridge. We stopped for lunch at the bottom of the ridge and then started the long walk up. There is nothing technically challenging about the ridge, it was just a long walk regaining a lot of height we had recently lost, and doing it in the hot sun.

    The summit area is a reasonably flat plateau and it is difficult to pick up precisely where is the highest point. There were great views all around: Tongariro, Ngaruhoe, Ruapehu, and the plains to the west.

    Tongariro and Ngaruhoe from the summit plateau

    Having taken summit photos and had a bit of a breather it was time to head down. Heading for the first waypoint to the west we found ourselves walking down some steep slopes of soft, but reasonably well compacted, volanic sand and small scoria. This was easy travel and a welcome alternative to the slog up.

    The scrub and other vegetation we had to push our     
    way through.
    After a while we reached the scrub line, with vegetation reaching up to our knees. My pre-set waypoints had us heading down the dry stream, but for some reason we instead decided to go cross country in a direct line for the Mangatepopo Hut. Big Mistake! The scrub got higher: waist, shoulders, and then over our heads. It formed a dense and at times seemingly impenetrable screen. At its thickest it took us 43 minutes to travel just 430m! The hillside was steep so it was much easier to use gravity to help us go down rather than fighting back up to see if there was an easier way. Somewhere in there Jan lost her rainjacket off the back of her camelbak.

    Finally we were out and it was an easy walk back to the hut to record that we were out, and then back to the car.

    More photos available on Flickr.


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