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.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    New Ice Axe

    After my epic on Mt Tongariro I decided it was definitely time to buy an ice axe. The axe arrived by courier today... and what a lovely axe it is! I purchased a Simond Ocelot Hyper Light from Now I just need to find an excuse to use it!

    The most difficult part of the decision was what length the axe should be. In reading around I found a variety of perspectives, from (a) the more traditional perspective that the end of the axe should be about 2 inches from the ground / about ankle height when the head is held comfortably, to (b) the more modern perspective that shorter is better.

    Using the traditional perspective an axe of around 68cm-71cm seems about right.

    Grant Guise from iclimb gave good reasons for both longer and shorter, and pointed me in the direction of the REI guide on How to Choose an Ice Axe. Given my intended use for the axe, a length of about 60cm-70cm seems about right.

    In this youtube clip, Ed Viesturs recommends an axe of 65cm-75cm length for use on Mt Rainier, which is probably reasonably similar to the type of terrain that I would typically be on. With 6 Everest summits under his belt, I'm inclined to accept his advice!

    Suburban Mountaineer has a post on choosing an ice axe and specifically on why a longer axe might be useful for traditional mountaineering. He provides a sizing chart for traditional mountaineering axes. I'm about 5'10.5", so the chart suggests an axe in the range of 62.5cm (steep, 45-67 degree slope) to 67.5cm (elevating, 24-45 degree slope).

    Putting all of that together I get:
    • Traditional, 68cm-71cm;
    • REI guide, 60cm-70cm;
    • Ed Viesturs, 65cm-75cm;
    • Suburban Mountaineer, 62.5cm-67.5cm.

    Given all of those perspectives I decided to go with the 68cm Ocelot Hyper Light. Lengths of 60cm and 75cm are also available.


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