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, March 17, 2012


    Back again as support crew this year, but by the end of the day felt like I had run the entire thing! Some recollections of the day...

    Staying in Tauranga, about 1 hour's drive from the start line, it was a very early start to the day... alarm went off at 4:30am! We were up and made final preparations, then drove the hour to the start.

    Meet and greet everyone at the start: Ross Steele, 40+ marathons under his belt, but first ultra; Amy Campbell, one of the top women runners; Gene Andrews, coming off a long period of absolutely no running due to injury; Simon Clendon (actually, we didn't need to meet and greet him, as he'd stayed with us that night); Vicki Woolley, another very good woman runner, but nursing an injury and was going to run with Heather for a while. Others seen in the distance - Penny Kirkwood, Matt Bixley.

    I was crewing for Heather for the day, but there were quite a number of people that we knew and would be following during the day:
    • In the 100k: Heather Andrews, Martin Lukes, Matt Bixley, Amy Campbell, Mal Law, Penny Kirkwood, Vicki Woolley, Keith Crook, Wayne Botha, Carl Laffan;
    • In shorter distances: Ross Steele, Sally Law, Simon Clendon, Gene Andrews, Nick Warren.

    Heather started well, and by the 5km mark was already several minutes ahead of the time she had run in training. She gained further time by the Blue Lake aid station, but was feeling good and running well within herself. Then it was a quick dash down to the other end of Blue Lake for me, and get ready for a change into dry shoes and socks... as Heather approached I was told of a change of plan, it would now be keep the wet ones on until Lake Okareka aid station!

    Drive around to Lake Okareka to find that I would need to park the car some distance from the aid station. Hmmmm. Never mind, unload all the supplies, including dry socks and shoes, chair out, ready to go. Heather arrives and wants... tape... one of the few things I didn't have from the car because it was in her gear bag rather than the supplies box. Run back to the car, run back, problem sorted. And then... sunglasses... run back to the car, and then meet Heather as she is walking through from the aid station with food. No chance to run up Millar's Rd this time, as the car needs to be repacked.
    Heather arriving at Lake Okareka aid station, looking
    and feeling great.
    Lake Okareka

    Heather's off again, looking and feeling good, I have jobs to do. Back into Rotorua to get some cash, back out towards Tarawera Rd to a service station to get some ice, a phone call to the babysitter... it must be close on an hour since Heather went through the aid station. Time for the longish drive to the Okataina Lodge aid station.

    Get nearly to Okataina Lodge and the road is absolutely jammed with cars. 5 minutes to travel 500m. Someone suggested a park at the side of the road, but I said "no, I am driving all the way down". The carpark was full, so I just parked in front of an SUV with a boat trailer. Unload the car again, chilly bin, box of supplies, chair, this time make sure I have the gear bag. Order and collect the single shot flat white.

    Then wait. And wait. And wait. It was a very hot day, and I had picked a good spot to set up - in the shade on the grass just as the runners emerge from the trees. For the most part I could keep nice and cool. But it must be hot out there for the runners... And indeed it was, with reports that it could be 30 degrees on some sections of the trail. Heather doesn't do so well in the heat, and so it proved on the day. The heat slowed her significantly, and was probably also a major culprit in stomach problems. Ice in a towel to help cool her down, try a few different foods, drink the coffee and some cold coffee milk, restock supplies in her pack, then off.

    I walked for a short distance with Heather, then it was back to repack the car. I paused to watch the other runners coming through, and all of 10 minutes before the cut-off Ross Steele appeared with friend Carla. They seemed to be having a fantastic time, stocked up at the aid station and left with just minutes to spare.

    Traffic on the Tarawera Falls access road. The
    recommendation in our safety assessment to minimise
    the number of road crossings because of dust and
    visibility issues was spot on.
    Time now to make the drive to Kawerau. A very quick stop at the Information Centre to pick up the forest access permit, then the drive into the Tarawera Falls carpark. Carpark #3, no. Carpark #2, no. Carpark #1, road is blocked, so I park here. Load up my hydration pack with everything I can think of - Gu chomps, spare handheld with plain water, gingernuts, my night time supplies (lights, warm top); grab Simon's drop bag for the 60k finish; and grab Heather's bag of night time supplies for the 60k aid station. A 1km walk down the road, drop the two bags off, then run/hike back along the track to the Tarawera Outlet.

    I met up with Heather about 1km beyond the Outlet. Her stomach problems had persisted, and although tired she was in good spirits. We worked our way back to the Falls, stopping for a few photos a long the way. The cut off time for continuing was blown, but that was ok. It was a hot, hard day, and now it was time to stop.

    Eat some aid station supplies, and then it was time for Heather to sit down. She asked for a specific warm top, but guess what? It was in her gear bag, back in the car! I had anticipated that we would be continuing on to 85km, so had bought the night time supplies, not the finish line bag. But there was a merino long sleeve in her night time bag, and I was not walking 1km back to the car again!!

    Ross and Carla, finished!
    Having finished earlier and had a while to recover, Simon went off to collect the car. While we were waiting Ross and Carla finished, both looking very fresh. Ross was clearly very happy to have finished his first ultramarathon, and had done it in style!

    Steve and Keith arriving at Fisherman's Bridge aid
    station: 10km to go.
    Mark and Gabbie hitched a ride with Heather, Simon, and me, and together we all set off to visit some of the other aid stations and see some of the other athletes still underway in the longer events. Part way to Titoki we caught up with Keith Crook and his pacer Steve Neary, then to Fisherman's Bridge where we saw Carl Laffan, Keith again, and Mal Law. Then off to the finish line to collect 60km finisher's medals, have some food, and socialise some more.

    One last stop, at the Kawerau hot pools for about half an hour, and then it was time to drive back to Tauranga. We finally arrived back sometime between 10:30pm and 11:00pm. I might have only ended up running about 10km of the 50km I had expected, but I was shattered! The heat and humidity seemed to have taken their toll on me as well.

    Martin Lukes and Heather at race registration.
    Performance of the day - both sporting and sportsman-like - has to go to Martin Lukes. In a quality international field he was my pick for one of the top two spots. But by 5k he was in trouble, and by 6k he was literally standing still! All the muscles in both quads had cramped and seized, and he had to stand there and work on them to ease them and get them working again. He did not DNF, but instead started off at a trot through the field, running WITH the slower runners and talking to them as he went. Reports had him at 35-40 minutes behind the leaders at Millars Road (). But he kept running, working through the field, and gaining ground. Martin made a real race of it, finishing in 3rd place. At 29 mins behind the winner, he surely would be hot favourite to have taken the race if it were not for his 40 minute handicap!

    But what a day of attrition! Of the 10 100km runners listed above:
    • 2 performed extremely well with podium positions. Amy Campbell 2nd in the women's race and Martin Lukes 3rd in the men's race;
    • 2 others recorded a 100km finish;
    • 1 had injury problems and completed the 85km;
    • 2 recorded finishes in the 60km; and
    • 3 did not finish, withdrawing at Okataina Lodge.
    Of these 10, only 40% completed the distance they intended to run, and 30% did not finish at all! The year I walked the 85km I was of the opinion that the first 60km was the toughest first 60km of any ultra in the country at that time, and with some minor course changes, high water levels (necesitating water crossings), and track damage, it appears that the course may be even harder now.



    Steve Neary said...

    Great account of the long day Andrew and interesting stats. Thank you, Steve

    Anonymous said...

    Hectic read for a hectic day. Nice job to Heather for getting it done. Primo course and event.

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