The 2024 Tarawera 100 miler (162.5km) was my fourth Tarawera miler and one of my toughest. It was an extra early 2am wake up as the course now started at Kawerau which was about an hour out of Rotorua. Even then, I knew 2am was pushing it for a 4am start but I couldn’t bring ... read more.
Queenstown Marathon was a bit of a spontaneous last minute thing. Everything seemed to align. It was a long weekend, accommodation was sorted, and family was able to look after our kids for a couple of days. So my wife and I hopped into the car and made the 6 hour trip from Christchurch to ... read more.
I’d never done the Hawke’s Bay Marathon before as it’s normally in May which is usually a busy running month for me. However, due to Cyclone Gabrielle, the event was postponed to August so I was keen to experience it whilst also visiting family in the Hawke’s Bay. My cousin Mary and her birmen cat ... read more.
Oh man, it’s been a stressful month! For most of winter, I’ve left for work in the dark only to return home in the dark again. Stuck in my office chair all day (I really need to explore that standing desk), my back is sore and it feels like I’m losing my hair. Hence, I ... read more.
Here we go again. Having participated in the Mt Difficulty Ascent 44km ‘adventure run’ in 2019 and 2021, this year would be my third running of the event. It’s without a doubt one of the harder ‘runs’ you can do. The race director likens it to more of an ‘extreme mountain mission’ as there’s as ... read more.
100 marathons – A reflection If someone told you that you’d run a hundred marathons one day, would you believe them? Of course not! Yet somehow, I’ve reached this milestone. I ran my first marathon just before my 21st birthday in 2003. Back then I was a 3rd year medical student who played rugby but ... read more.
Fast forward another week and this time I’m at the Ultra Trail Australia (UTA) start line with Dr Andrew Stanley in Katoomba, the Blue Mountains, NSW. I’d originally entered the UTA in 2020 but covid intervened and flooding/landslides affected the rescheduled 2022 event so this start line was three years in the making. The first ... read more.
I hadn’t planned to do the Rotorua Marathon this year as I’d entered the Ultra Trail Australia (UTA) 100km which was one week after Rotorua. However, when I got wind that one of my cousins was hoping to run his first road marathon at Rotorua, I felt obliged to support him. When two more of ... read more.
Prelude – Courtney is picking up my registration pack for the Mt Oxford Odyssey Mountain Marathon. Courtney: “Number 149, Courtney Molloy for the 33km and number 36, John Molloy for the marathon.” Crew member: “John Molloy, is that Dr John Molloy? He’s done this event a few times hasn’t he?” Courtney: “Yes, and he’s doing ... read more.
You feeling strong for the 100 miler? I received a text from Dr Andrew Stanley on the Sunday afternoon less than a week out from the Northburn 100 Miler. I was still feeling a bit sluggish post Ironman NZ so I text back, Not at all! Will start building strength from Monday. I hadn’t done ... read more.
Backing up Ironmans aren’t easy. After doing the Covid rescheduled Ironman NZ in December 2022, the Ironman NZ in March this year would be my 14th Ironman NZ. After starting my long bike training in September, it was nice to head into my taper week knowing I wouldn’t have to do any more long bike ... read more.
Money talks. But it don’t sing and dance and it don’t walk. It’s 3am in the morning and we’re racing around Lake Rotoiti in Dr Andrew Stanley’s Tesla. The Tarawera 100 miler is scheduled to start at 4am and we need to be at the Lake Rotoiti Rugby Club at 3.15am to catch the pre-race ... read more.
Oh my goodness. It’s 4.45am and Courtney, Paul, and I are making our way through the Auckland CBD in torrential rain. I’m lubricated up to my eye balls and I’m trying to keep my feet dry. It’s bucketing down and water is gushing along the gutters and spilling onto the foot path. We bump into ... read more.
The Taupo Ultramarathon 100km had been postponed from October 2021 to December 2021 until it was finally cancelled due to Covid. So when the 2022 edition neared, I was unsure whether to bypass the event completely, postpone for another year, or just do it. I’d already paid the $400 entry fee but there is no ... read more.
The Leadville 100 miler. The granddaddy of all endurance trail running events. The renowned “Race Across the Sky” that takes runners on an epic out and back journey across the biggest, baddest, and toughest mountains that Colorado has to offer. 100 miles/160km. 4800 metres elevation gain. A course low point of 2800 metres and a ... read more.
Reputedly NZ’s toughest marathon, the Mt Oxford Odyssey certainly lives up to its reputation. With 3500 metres of elevation gain packed into 42km, it easily makes my top three for the toughest marathons in NZ (Mt Difficulty Ascent and the Shotover Moonlight Mountain Marathon would round out the top three [though Mt Difficulty is 44km]). ... read more.
SLU Diary Pre-race The hardest part of any race is getting to the start line. The Southern Lakes Ultra (SLU) is a 264km stage race over 7 days with greater than 10 000 metres of elevation gain. With Omicron brewing, uncertainty reigned and events around the country were cancelling again. So, as we had our ... read more.
I thought I’d give the Port Hills Ultra (50km) another go this year. Fifty kilometres is a good testing distance without having to deal with the excessive post recovery fatigue that accompanies a 100km distance. Being a home town run and with a leisurely start time of 9am, I was a bit too relaxed with ... read more.
My Wife’s dietician: So what’s John up to this weekend? Wife: He’s running an ultra one week after running an ultra. Dietician: Why’s he doing that? Wife: Because he’s an idiot. I was really looking forward to participating in The “James” Stampede Ultra (50km). Mainly because I’ve never run in the St James Conservation Area ... read more.
What a nice start to 2022! The Kepler Challenge (60km) has traditionally been held on the first Saturday of December but this year it was shifted to mid-January due to COVID. Whilst others pulled out due to the date change, I had no intention on missing out on one of NZ’s most iconic running events. ... read more.
Covid’s been a bit of a wrecking ball for events so I was grateful that the Mission Mt Somers Marathon went ahead. As is becoming the norm for Covid events, there were staggered registration times, staggered starts, mandatory masks at the start/finish area, and no volunteers at aid stations. After a stressful week at work ... read more.
I must admit, I don’t particularly like Mt Difficulty. The name itself is not overly inviting. It’s a gruelling 44km with a total elevation gain of 3200m. A large proportion of that elevation gain is up trackless terrain. It’s in June so it can be cold and windy with a high probability of snow. There’s ... read more.
Although I spend most of my time in Christchurch now, I always enjoys running in Rotorua. If there is such a thing as a ‘spiritual running home’, then mine would be Rotorua. Rotorua (and the Redwood Forest in particular) is where it all started for me. What started as 10km runs in the forest during ... read more.
I was initially attracted to the Coastal Ultra as it was in the Catlins which is an area in NZ I’ve never been to before. It was a new event and 99% of the course was on private land so the opportunity to explore rarely ventured territory appealed. However, the Coastal Ultra was also on ... read more.
“One Ironman a year” I said after completing my first Ironman in 2007. Prior to this, I had been a reasonable runner who was running at least 5 marathons a year. When I first started running, ‘no more than 3 marathons a year’ was the accepted notion so I was already going against the grain. ... read more.
The Tarawera 100 Miler (165.2km) was the culmination of lots of training. Even though I had done five ultra marathons in the last four months, you can never take a 100 miler for granted. Having done the Tarawera 100 miler in 2019, I knew what to expect. 165km is a long way and the thought ... read more.
Talk about Christchurch runners being spoilt for choice! After participating in the inaugural Aotearoa Ultra three weeks prior, I was lucky enough to back this up with another inaugural Christchurch event – the Port Hills Ultra. Having run in the Port Hills a few times, I was aware of how challenging the terrain could be ... read more.
New year. New run. The inaugural Aotearoa Ultra 53km from Pigeon Bay to Halswell Quarry provided an opportunity to repent for my Christmas and New Year sins. I’d indulged in more than my fair share of ice cream and pavlova whilst discovering unheard cheese cake varieties (Oreo and Toblerone). Some days desert was eaten twice ... read more.
After missing out last year, I was keen to rekindle my relationship with the Kepler Challenge again. Having successfully entered in July, I made a date with the Kepler start line for the first Saturday of December and that time had finally arrived. This year had a slightly different feel from usual due to COVID-19. ... read more.
This year was my second time participating in the Valley Ultra 57km Whole Hog. Dr Andrew Stanley was keen to give the ‘Whole Hog’ a go for the first time and Flight Lieutenant Jim Sheehan was keen to upgrade from the ‘Piglet’ (shorter 24km version) after sickness derailed his hopes of running the ‘Whole Hog’ ... read more.
It’s an early 4.15am alarm for this year’s Crater Rim Ultra (53km). A quick shower and shave act as a pre-race ‘comfort primer’ and breakfast is hurriedly eaten in the car. I arrive at Hansen Park at 5.15am just in time to catch the bus to Lyttelton where the ferry waits. It’s a cool morning ... read more.
Wow! A lot has happened since my last blog in March following the NZ Ironman. My last marathon was the 4 Paws Marathon in 2019 and I would’ve never thought that my next marathon would be the 2020 4 Paws Marathon. When COVID-19 entered the scene, the event industry and my running calendar was thrown ... read more.
I did my first Ironman triathlon in 2007 when I was 24 years of age which is generally considered ‘young’ for a recreational Ironman. Since then, I’ve completed one a year so the 2020 NZ Ironman was my 13th edition at the maturing age of 37. Interestingly, the 35-39 and 40-44 age groups are the ... read more.
Having missed out on the Kepler Challenge this year, The Valley Ultra seemed to have all the core ingredients that I liked about the Kepler – a small town event, natural beauty, and running in an alpine environment. Despite being a short 90 minute drive from Christchurch, I had never ventured into the Castle Hill ... read more.
The Crater Rim Ultra is one of my favourite events. It’s very challenging but I enjoy running in the Port Hills – a popular ‘back yard’ for many Christchurch runners. Like most ultras, it is an early 4.20am alarm to catch an early bus. The bus trip this year to Lyttelton is remarkably lively for ... read more.
The 4 Paws Marathon was a special event for me. After more than a year of planning and negotiating, all of a sudden, the start line was upon me. The only difference being I had created this start line and it brought associated responsibilities. The genesis of the 4 Paws Marathon not surprisingly came one ... read more.
Wow! The Transalpine Run 2019 was an unforgettable experience! The event slogan is “Eight days / Four Countries / Two Runners / A Dream”. Two runners must traverse more than 270km along the Transalpine Western route with greater than 16 000 metres of elevation gain over eight days. The event starts in Germany and participants ... read more.
A mid-winter marathon is always tough. Seldom is preparation ideal and getting to the start line can be difficult. Training days are short, the cold bites, and viruses reign. Thank fully, I managed to stay healthy enough in order to do the necessary training to give the WUU-2K the respect it deserves. Having done the ... read more.
Having never done the Mt Difficulty Marathon Ascent before, I didn’t really know what to expect. The name wasn’t very subtle and this initially caught my attention. The event was also in Central Otago at the beginning of June so there was a good chance we would be at the mercy of the elements. The ... read more.
The weather forecast for the Christchurch Marathon wasn’t overly inspiring. A cold southerly front with rain and a high of 9 degrees Celsius. Running on the 2nd of June seemed like a good idea three weeks ago. Today, I’m not so sure! It is 6.30am and I can hear the howling wind outside and the ... read more.
It’s been a while since I last visited the West Coast of the South Island. The 54km South Island Ultra from Old Christchurch Road to Hokitika was an opportunity to experience a different side of New Zealand. The event utilises the West Coast Wilderness Trail which is an easy going mountain bike trail that showcases ... read more.
The 2019 New Zealand Ironman also doubled up as the 35th anniversary for the event. I’ve always enjoyed anniversary years and this year was all the more special as it was my 10th NZ Ironman. I first became involved in Ironman more than 10 years ago. I had an improving running background but minimal experience ... read more.
The 100 miler is a formidable and challenging distance. Many questions are invariably asked as it can be difficult to grasp the enormity of such a distance. Why? How? When? What?! Such a distance involves running through the night as most ‘average’ competitors finish after 24 hours. After completing my first 100 miler at the ... read more.
The Kepler Challenge is an all time favourite of mine. Set in the Fiordland National Park, the 60km mountain run has established itself as New Zealand’s premier mountain run. The Kepler has a unique community feel to it which I’ve always found attractive. The local volunteers create a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere which is evident ... read more.
The Taupo Ultramarathon 100km run was an opportunity to experience the Great Lake Trail around Lake Taupo. Lake Taupo is New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake and has a perimeter of approximately 193 km. Much of the 100km run is around the western shores of the lake and utilises the popular Kawakawa Bay to Kinloch (K2K) ... read more.
As much as I like participating in my home town marathon, the chances of favourable weather conditions aren’t great in Christchurch during winter. So when I wake up and it is dark, cold, and wet; it can be difficult to get out of bed yet alone leave the front door. Getting to the start line ... read more.
I’d been looking forward to the Mt Oxford Odyssey mountain marathon all week. After a busy week at work, a marathon in the mountains is a perfect way to escape life’s demands. Despite Oxford only being a 50 minute drive from Christchurch, it’s like my working week has continued as I’m rushing to get to ... read more.
Some marathons I enjoy more than others and the Rotorua marathon is one of those. Having grown up in Rotorua, most of my running apprenticeship was served in this small town. Many hours have been spent running in the Redwood Forest and along the Blue and Green lakes. Even though my first marathon was in ... read more.
There’s something that keeps drawing me back to the Arrowsmith marathon. In 2013, I ran my 50th marathon at this event. This year, it will be my 5th Arrowsmith marathon. The routine to the start line is no different this year. Alarm set for 5am, I wake up and get into my pre packed car. ... read more.
The Alps 2 Ocean Ultra was New Zealand’s first ultra staged run. I’d been looking forward to this for a while. After long days in the medical office, this was an opportunity to experience a different type of office for the week – the Alps 2 Ocean trail. Runners would attempt to cover 316km over 7 ... read more.
Absence makes the legs grow fonder! After a refreshing Christmas and New Year’s break, it’s nice to welcome 2018 with a favourite past time of mine – running a marathon. Running marathons quenches my thirst for adventure. It is a way of connecting with my inner child. An opportunity to lose oneself in play. The ... read more.
Aloha from Hawaii! It was my first time going to Hawaii so I was really looking forward to the Honolulu marathon. This was a planned holiday and marathon double with my family. My wife had also entered the marathon after a one year hiatus from marathon running. The Honolulu marathon is the fourth largest marathon ... read more.
The Great Southern Endurance Run (GSER) is a point to point 100 miler which starts in the ski town of Mt Buller and finishes in the small township of Bright. The race is predominantly run in the Alpine National Park in the Victorian Alps about 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne. This year was the inaugural ... read more.
I’ve been looking forward to Mission Mt Somers Marathon all year. I’d never been to Mt Somers before so this was a new playground for me to explore. The run was only 90 mins drive from Christchurch along the inland scenic route. I set my alarm for 4.30am and arrived in the small town of ... read more.
After traveling to the USA for my last run, it’s nice to do a run in your own back yard in the Port Hills, Christchurch. The inaugural Crater Rim Ultra 50km was always going to be a bit special. I don’t recall ever running an inaugural event in my whole 14 years of marathon running. ... read more.
Wow, what a truly epic adventure! The TransRockies was my first multiday run and was a much needed shot in the arm. I was half way through the year and longing for a holiday. Work was starting to wear me down and my compassion batteries were starting to dwindle (this is not a good thing ... read more.
This year was the first time I had run the Wellington Urban Ultra (WUU) 2k marathon. It’s always nice to run an event for the first time. It keeps running fresh. Leading up to the WUU, I was both excited and apprehensive. The last time I ran a marathon in Wellington, it was wet, cold, ... read more.
After two years in Sydney, it’s great to be back running in Christchurch. When I think of the Christchurch marathon, I think of running through seasons. When I was a medical student, I used to do a lot of my marathon training runs along the Avon River. Come spring, daffodils would populate the river bank ... read more.
It is fitting that my first blog happens to involve a distance I would’ve never thought was possible. The 100km run wouldn’t top my list of runs to do. It took me 30 marathons to have the courage to run my first 100km – the Tarawera Ultramarathon in 2010. The seeds of which were probably ... read more.