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.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Tongariro Out-and-Back

    Crater Rim from South Crater

    This started out as a fanciful notion before the Rotorua Marathon that maybe we'd give the 50km Tongariro Northern Circuit a nudge just 3 days after the marathon. But we were both tired and our plans shifted several times until our intention was to head up the Mangatepopo Valley to Tongariro, do the summit, and then come back down the west ridge.

    The weather in Turangi was wet, but at Mangatepopo it was warm and sunny with clear skies over the mountain. Having expected bad weather we both started in thermal tights, but by the start of the climb up to South Crater it was sufficiently warm that Heather decided to quickly change into something cooler.

    We took the tourist route rather than the old Devil's Staircase up to South Crater. As we had lunch up on South Crater we watched a bit of cloud start to drift over the crater rim, but all still looked ok. The temperature dropped a bit, so Heather put her thermal tights back on, and we both put warm tops on. It looked like there might be a bit of cloud as we made our way around the rim to the summit, but it didn't look like it would be anything too serious.

    The short walk across the crater, and then we started the hike up the rim. The weather closed in rapidly as we climbed. By the time we reached the top visibility was down to about 50m, and we needed to put on our raincoats, gloves, and beanies because of the cold wind.

    Storm Gear
    In storm gear, but back down out of the wind.
    The wind grew stronger as we walked around the rim, and after only about 200m the wind was so strong and cold that it was time to put on our waterproof overtrou as well. As it started to rain we quickly decided that the better course of action was to go back. Down at South Crater we were largely out of the wind, and the rain had stopped, but the cloud was still low and visibility much reduced. Without the familiar landmarks it seemed that we were in a completely different place.

    South Crater in the clear
    Looking down at South Crater in the clear
    South Crater cloud
    Less than an hour later, back down in South Crater.

    A short way down from South Crater it was sunny and warm again so we took off all our storm gear. Clouds threatened in the distance, but we were able to make it back to the car without any more rain. For a while we walked along talking to a guide who was guiding two Singaporean clients across the Crossing, and we also ran some of the flatter sections.

    A good decision not to try the Northern Circuit - our legs were far too tired for that. And a good decision to turn back when we did. All in all a very pleasant day, with for the most part good weather, only a small amount of weather drama but the gear to cope with it, and good company.


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