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.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Ngauruhoe Circumnavigation

    The plan was simple: a loop around Ngauruhoe, constructed as follows:
    • up the Mangatepopo Valley and up to South Crater by the standard track (no adventure here, although we could have done the old Devil's Staircase;
    • across South Crater and drop down over the side into the Oturere Valley;
    • cross-country to Oturere Hut;
    • follow the Northern Circuit track south through the Rangipo Desert and turn west at an appropriate point;
    • follow the gentle slope up between Ngauruhoe and the Tama Lakes - exact route not important because it's such a wide gentle lava flow;
    • head over the saddle between Ngauruhoe and Hogsback / Pukekaikiore; and
    • follow the unmarked but well-trod trail back to the Mangetepopo Valley track and back to the car.

    Into Oturere

    It was initially a little steep heading
    down from South Crater, but it is by
    ANY route.
    Photo: Mike Tennent
    Heading up to and across South Crater went like clockwork, and we made good time. Heather and Mike had a few misgivings on reaching the far rim of South Crater, but we were soon on our way down and the going was a lot easier than it first appeared. Some might even say it was fun!

    After following the stream bed down for a while we branched across the sandy desert to meet up with the poled track to Oturere Hut. There was a bit of a hunt for the track, but the GPS waypoints turned out to be pretty much spot on.

    Into Oturere
    View down the valley into Oturere
    Mike and Heather running cross-country along
    the stream valley

    Running with Heather through the desert.
    Photo: Mike Tennent

    Oturere Hut
    Oturere Hut
    After a stop at the hut to refuel we continued on, following the Northern Circuit track as planned. The track is undulating, but for the most part is runnable. We were still right on our planned time at this point, so all was good.

    At Oturere Hut
    Posing for a photo at the hut.
    Heather and Mike run off into the desert

    Through the Desert

    An "undulation" in the desert...
    Natural bonsai

    Just up that valley...
    Late Lunch
    Time for a late lunch

    Saddle #1

    The plan was to cross the saddle between Ngauruhoe and Pukekaikiore. What I didn't realise was that there were three saddles! The first saddle is shown in the photos below. This didn't quite feel right, and after a bit of a diversion down the side of the valley we came back up and continued on to the next saddle.

    First Wrong Saddle
    It looks like a saddle... as a natural low point it even
    has water lying on the ground. In fact it IS a saddle...
    just not the one we were looking for.
    View down the valley from this saddle

    Saddle #2 - The Crucial (Wrong) Turn

    Having recovered from the previous wrong turn we continued gradually upwards. Cresting a slope to (another) saddle we were very pleased to find a marker pole. There were no orange marker triangles, but the existence of the pole meant we were heading in the right direction!

    I stopped to take a couple of photos, and then we left turned and headed down... in the wrong direction. The photo below shows where we should have gone - across the lava field to the third and final saddle. Instead we headed around the slopes of Pukekaikiore. The only way out in that direction is an unpleasant and very slow stretch of bush-bashing, which is exactly what we had to do.
    The Pole
    The Pole: this pole is crucial - at this point head
    across the lava field, maintaining height. Do not be
    tempted to head down.
    The Right Way
    The goal from the pole: head for the left hand side
    of THIS saddle.

    Having traversed around the side of Pukekaikiore until we could go no further, it was time to head down through the bush. Even though the day was hot, Heather and I stopped to put our overtrousers on to stop our legs being scratched to pieces. We pushed and shoved and slipped and slid through the thick scrub and bush. With a stroke of luck Mike happened on a narrow but deep stream bed, and that provided a clear path down.

    Out of the bush and into a more open stream at the base of Pukekaikiore, we followed that UP for a short distance to a clearer section of vegetation that allowed us to gain the low hill between us and Mangatepopo Valley. At the top of the hill was an unmarked track. Following this west led us back to the poled Northern Circuit track (the section from The Chateau to Mangatepopo), and we were out!

    A short diversion back to Mangatepopo Hut to sign out of the log book and then back to the cars. 10h47, but most likely would have been the planned 8h if we had taken the right route.


    Topo Map



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