Jan 26, 2021

As you may have noticed, I’ve been having problems with the Toms Next Step web site. It’s mostly corrected now, although not quite perfected yet. But good enough to post blogs.

That means I’ve missed posting several days from my world run. Those are all below, if you have time, including the video below from Jan 25, 2012.

Still waiting on my MRI report. Hopefully I’ll receive it tomorrow.


Jan 21, 2012


Distance today = 28.47 km; Total distance = 1081.95 km; Location = Picton Ferry Terminal –  41 17.192′ S, 174 00.204′ E; Start time = 0802, Finish time = 1147


I am writing today’s blog from the Inter Islander ferry as we cruise down Queen Charlotte Sound on our way across the Cook Strait to Wellington on the North Island. For those not aware, Wellington is the capital of New Zealand.

I had a slightly earlier start this morning, to ensure I made it to the ferry terminal before midday. I was able to run right up to where the cars drive on to the ferries.

The landscape between Blenheim and Picton is as spectacular as any in NZ, and looks a lot like parts of British Columbia in Canada, including some completely bare hillsides from logging. This is one of the less fortunate similarities, but at least there is good evidence of replanting and new growth.

I would very much like to thank Inter Islander Ferries for providing our transport between the islands. These Kiwis never cease to amaze us. I am even able to watch the Tour Down Under on the TV while writing the blog via free Wifi. What more could a tired runner want?


Jan 22, 2012


Distance today = 30.16 km; Total distance = 1112.11 km; Location = Mana –  41 05.669′ S, 174 52.137′ E; Start time = 0903, Finish time = 1301


Another planned short day, with a run of 30 km out of Wellington. I started the North Island stage on Mount Victoria, a high hill in the centre of the city, with 360 degree views. On a clear day you can see the South Island, so it seemed an appropriate link to what I’ve just done.

I gave the support crew the day off, and caught a bus back to Wellington, where we are staying. I’ll start tomorrow’s leg at the Mana train station where I finished today.

We are staying two nights at the lovely home of John and Liz Huckerby, for which we are, once again, greatly appreciative. It’s a beautiful place, with some great views of Wellington.


Jan 23, 2012


Distance today = 56.06 km; Total distance = 1168.17 km; Location = Manakau –  40 42.938′ S, 175 12.906′ E; Start time = 0847, Finish time = 1647


I had a different start to the day, with a train ride 30 km north of Wellington to where I had finished yesterday. This allowed the support crew a bit of extra time to attend to their chores. The train left exactly on time, to the minute, and arrived on time to the minute as well. Probably the most punctual rail service I’ve ever been on.

The running today was a bit of a slog. I just didn’t seem to have much energy, but there are days like that, and it’s important to push through regardless. I didn’t exert myself too much, and the strong tailwind helped.

I met the girls for lunch at Waikanae, before an afternoon of 23 km, to total 56 km for the day. We are staying in Levin, about 12 km north of Manakau where I finished for the day. It will back in the morning to Manakau to start from the exact same place.


Jan 24, 2012


Distance today = 57.22 km; Total distance = 1225.39 km; Location = Palmerston North –  40 22.212′ S, 175 34.827′ E; Start time = 0824, Finish time = 1630


I started today feeling strong, but the heat of the afternoon reversed the situation by the time I finished. I still managed 57.2 km, which was pleasing.

I was able to get off the main national highway this morning. Although the road to Palmerston North is still quite busy, it is a lot less so than Highway 1. This helped immeasurably. I passed through the main potato growing region of NZ, although I did see lots of corn too.

The support crew were there at various stages today and luckily so. There was a 24 km section this afternoon with nowhere to get a drink or food. Carmel and Libby provided me with a top up of my drink bottles during this section.

I have mentioned already that the reason I am able to churn out these 55 – 60 km days is because of the support crew, as well as the ideal weather conditions. I’ve got it easy. If you want to know about a real man of steel, have a look at the web site of my friend, Tony Mangan, at www.theworldjog.com. Tony is also running around the world, but via a course of his choosing – one that is more comprehensive than mine in some respects.

But Tony does not have a support crew. He must get all his gear from point to point, and often has to sleep in the open on bare ground. He is currently in Colombia, running in extreme heat and humidity, carrying his daily gear on his back. Whenever I think I’m having a hard day, I think about how I’d cope if I was doing it Tony’s way.

BTW, Tony is also the first person to have ever run consecutive days of over 200 km per day  – a total of 426 km in 48 hours. This is mind-boggling stuff. He is a much better ultra runner than me (although I’d probably beat him over 100 metres).

More on another world runner, Jesper Olsen, in a future edition.

Finally, a big thanks to the Awapuni Motor Hotel in Palmerston North for tonight’s accommodation. As always, we are very appreciative of the generosity of such establishments.


Jan 25, 2012


Distance today = 58.27 km; Total distance = 1283.66 km; Location = Rewa –  39 59.177′ S, 175 38.017′ E; Start time = 0812, Finish time = 1638


I started the day by running into the Palmerston North town centre to see Carmel at the dentist surgery. She had broken off a piece of tooth – such are the hazards of chewing on muesli bars. It’s all fixed now and the support crew are firing on all cylinders.

From there I headed north, through the amusingly named village of Bunnythorpe, and on to Feilding (correct spelling) – a great little town.

The afternoon then consisted of climbing through some beautiful countryside in very hot conditions – maybe not extreme in terms of an Australian summer, but hot enough to make things quite difficult for an uphill 58 km run.

However, I was rewarded with a spectacular view from the high point of the day (425 m), where I could see the snow-capped volcano, Mt Ruapehu, at 2797 metres high. I hope to have a video of this uploaded later.

I then had to descend 300 metres down a steep pass to my end point of the day at the village of Rewa. My Garmin Forerunner 610 GPS ran out of batteries shortly before I finished, and I had to change to my spare Garmin Edge 705 for the last 1.45 km. I will upload this when I have wireless internet which doesn’t require a USB plug-in. My Notebook only has two USB ports – one is used for the wireless mouse, and the 705 has to be plugged into the other for downloading, meaning I don’t have a port for the internet plug-in. It’s complicated, I know. Anyhow, the correct distance for the day is 58.27 km, not the 56.82 km shown on Garmin Connect. Unfortunately, I will have to go to the second Garmin device every day that I’m out on the road for more than eight hours.

One bizarre moment of the day occurred when I passed a shearing shed where there was rap music blaring from inside. I guess it’s a sign of the times. What would the shearers of days-gone-by think?


Jan 26, 2012


Distance today = 51.79 km; Total distance = 1335.45 km; Location = Taihape –  39 40.312′ S, 175 47.562′ E; Start time = 0835, Finish time = 1556


I had my hilliest day yet, with almost one kilometre of vertical ascent. One climb was 6 km long. Thankfully it was a mostly overcast and relatively cool day.

Annoyingly, I made a mistake by passing up the first cafe in the town of Mangaweka. I explored further into town before realising I was going to have to go back. So I turned off my GPS and backtracked to get something to eat and drink.

The lady in the cafe was very interested in my endeavour, and filled my water bottles from the tap out the back. And I’m doubly glad I went back, as I bought a smoked fish pie, which was delicious. For some reason it tasted very similar to the scallop pies in Tasmania.

The town of Mangaweka is very historic, and reminded me of the town of Carcoar in NSW (not exactly sure why, because they don’t look that much alike). There was a grand old Bank of New Zealand building on one corner, but it has clearly not been used for banking for some time.

Much of the day was spent paralleling the Rangitikei River. This river has huge scarred cliffs of dried mud. All the road cuttings display the same strata. I’m no geologist, but I can imagine that the top hundred metres or so of this region was deposited in ancient times in a huge mud slide when a volcano melted a glacier or caused a large lake to burst its sill. Maybe a real geologist can correct me or elaborate?

I made it to the town of Taihape today. This town, quite high in elevation with snow capped mountains in the distance, is what I imagine some of the towns will be like when I run through Colorado and other US states in the Rockies. By the way, the town is pronounced ‘Ty Happy’, so it’s a big hello to all the happy Ty men out there, especially those born on May 2.

Tomorrow I will finish in the shadow of Mount Ruahepu, the 2,800 metre high snow capped volcano. The views should be memorable (from below, of course).