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.

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    A Long Slow 50 Miles

    I had intended to qualify for Australian Centurion membership at the Sri Chinmoy 24 Hour Race at Blacktown Olympic Park in Sydney. However, things didn't work out as planned, and I withdrew from the race with just half of the required mileage and my slowest ever 50 miles.

    Everything started off well. The first lap was a bit fast – that’s to be expected – and then I was circulating at around 2:55 – 3:00 per lap (7:17 – 7:30 per km). After I was having electrolyte drink from the drinks table at 30 minute intervals, and food on the hour. With a couple of toilet breaks I covered 24.0km in just under 3 hours, all seemed good.

    It got hot so I took a layer off and made sure I kept drinking, having taking a drink bottle to add to the half hourly drinks. I also decided to eat some of the mashed potato on offer while my stomach was still good. I should have been able to circulate at this pace for at least another 3 hours, but in reality I had been generally slowing from about 21km onwards as the bones of both heels started to get increasingly sore. This hadn’t happened in training, or at least not to this extent, but perhaps I could just walk it out.

    I changed to flatter shoes around 32km, but continued to slow through to 37.2km at which point I had some panadol. A few laps later I was back on track again, and back under 3:00 a lap by 40km. Improved further for another 2km, but then the real deterioration set in. By 46.4 I was back over 3:00/lap, and stayed that way through to 50km (6h31). A long lap (toilet break) and I was suddenly at 3:15/lap. After four slow laps I decided to try some neurofen gel on both quads. I gave that a good chance to work, but it had no effect.

    It was far too early in the race for this to be happening! I started doing the maths: I didn’t need to be fast to get the 100 miles, but I was slowing to the point where 100 miles would be unattainable with the level of slowing later in the event. I needed my legs to come right and come right fast. After 7.5 hrs it was in to the medical tent for voltaren gel, a heat rub, and a pill that should aid muscle relaxation. On Doctor’s “orders” I also changed into thermal tights and another pair of long pants over top to try and keep my quads warm. 10 laps more, and still no result.

    Possible indications of what went wrong. In the photo on the left I am over-striding considerably to the front, and under-striding with a low toe-off to the rear. The effort of pulling my leg through so far to the front possibly put too much strain on my quads. Also note my forward lean, which may be indicative of tight hip flexors. In contrast, note the photo of Justin Scholtz on the right. Justin has an erect upper body and near-symmetrical front- and back-stride. Justin achieved the 100 miles, plus an extra 16km.

    Back into the medical tent again, this time for a good 20 minutes for massage to try and release the muscles. The muscles simply did not want to let go, and I was now at 4:00/lap or slower (some laps slower than 4:30). I had two options: struggle on and get a low mileage total, or see if a rest would allow the muscles to relax. I chose the latter.

    After more than two hours off the track I got back out on the track again. My laps were slow at just 3:50-4:00, but I wanted to get to 50 miles before I pulled the pin. I counted the laps down, did an extra one just to make sure, and then stopped. I was out of the event. There was no point in continuing and possibly exacerbating whatever injury I might have.

    Technically this is not a DNF, as the clock keeps running regardless. I walked 80.8 km in 15:15:47 including the time I had off the track. My slowest 50 mile ever, and no Centurion qualification.

    At the time of writing, what caused my quads to rebel remains unexplained. I had been having enough electrolytes, so it wasn’t that. Tracks are always hard underfoot, but I pulled through the 8 hour session on the track in training without any issues. Several people have suggested the cold, and that was one hypothesis the track-side Doctor was working on. But I’m not really convinced of that either.

    Judging by the position of the tightness and soreness, the vastus lateralis is the prime candidate. However, on the surface the quads seemed to be fine, it was deep in the muscle where the tightness was present. The area around my TFLs (tensor facia latae) is also tender. Some photos indicate that I was walking bent forward at the hip, but that could just have been a manifestation of the body adapting to take pressure off the compromised muscles rather than a cause of the problem. I was also over-striding to the front, and that would place strain on the various quadriceps muscles.

    My current hypothesis is a complex web of tightness through various soft tissue structures (particularly tight hip flexors), exacerbated by lots of sitting in the week prior to the event, which just happened to manifest in the quads. Off to the physio I go to get checked out.

    Right: Muscles of the upper leg. The vastus lateralis is on the left, above the knee. The tensor facia latae is also on the left, above the vastus lateralis and below the hip.
    Source: Grey's Anatomy.


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