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We were prepared. We were keen. We’d trained hard(ish). We were ready. However, this being our first mountain marathon, our collective experience was precisely zero. What could possibly go wrong? With secrecy their watchword, the organisers kept everyone in the dark as to the location of the event right up to the last minute. After

Hillary Trail

So, after umpteen decades and no end of planning, the Auckland Regional Council has managed to establish a four day 70km “long trail” in the Waitakere ranges, an iconic forest in west Auckland. It’s named after and dedicated to Ed Hillary, New Zealand’s most famous mountaineer. Ed had close connections to the Waitakeres, and much

Kaweka Challenge

Billed as the highest mountain run in New Zealand, the Kaweka Challenge was an obvious choice to be my last run in the country for a while. The race covers 41km with 3200m of incline, and scales some spectacular scenery in the Kaweka range in the middle of the North Island. Despite being a long

Duncolm hill run

I joined a small group of westies in the ever popular trot up Duncolm on a clear Spring evening. The views at the top were outstanding, marred only by a burn-off of a patch of heather on a nearby hill. The snow we found on the Cochno run a few weeks back was long gone,

Stuc a’ Chroin

Ten Westies enjoyed the pleasures of a trot up Stuc a’ Chroin on Saturday. This was the first time Paula and I had run the event, and Paula’s first ever long run! The rain largely held off, apart from a brief patch of sleet and mist along the tops. My enduring memory of the race

A shuffle around Snowdonia

Snowdonia — I admit that I’m only here because a running mate from Auckland entered, and invited me to join him. Mind you, if you ever fancy a run along a road, this is not a bad spot to choose. The scenery is pretty throughout, and the event is enthusiastically supported by the locals. There

Cold hands in the Leadhills

Three Westies (Paula Cowan, Graham Kelly and myself) took advantage of the "day after New Year" holiday to enjoy a run in the snowy Leadhills. Conditions were cold and misty, with intermittent periods of sleet, hail and freezing rain — perfect for reminding us why we all love hill running. Despite the limited visibilty, Graham’s

Score “10” for the Hutchinsons

Last Wednesday saw the wonderful Huchinsons host a replay of their famous annual “score” event, following the December postponement. Equipped with a OS map and list of clues, we were sent forth into the wilderness of Milngavie with an hour to locate as many checkpoints (none of which were portaloos) as possible. An excellent supper

Goatfell Hill Race

Arran turned on the warmth and sunshine on Saturday for the Goatfell hill, and an excuse for my first visit to the island. The event was efficently organised, providing excellent facilities (read: hot showers!) and even a pipe band to send us off! The race starts with a two km road section, then climbs through