Marathon Des Sables
2003, 2006 – 'The toughest footrace on earth', Morocco
...and absolutely the one by which all other seven day self supporting (carry your gear and food for the week in your pack with only a water ration provided) races are measured. I have achieved two top fifties in this race after great prep in Auckland's surprisingly fabulous environment. So many people make so many mistakes in this race that the injuries and pain seen is tragic because it's so avoidable. The heat, the feet, the weight in your pack and the execution of the days takes a massive toll. Training people for success in this event is one of my most common missions and my people are very prepared. This Sahara monster is fantastic in its beauty and it's purity - they expect (and I support this completely) you to be prepared and you will end up a miserable foot destroyed walking or crying mess if not. If you are, you can race hard, push hard and enjoy one of the great experiences of your life. I loved it so much I went twice. Read more about this experience.
Leadville Trail 100 miles
2008, 2010 - The Race Across The Sky in Colorado, USA
So named because of its high altitude, Leadville is 10,200 ft and the race goes up to 12,500ft. This altitude makes a massive difference to performance and is the single toughest component of the run. It's an out and back course, turning at the old ghost town of Winfield. On my first visit I struck terrible weather, with few finishing and got the sub 28 hr buckle. I was most unhappy with this and returned to get a sub 25 hr buckle. One of my all time favourite races. Read more about this experience.
2013 - Six Day Stage Race in Colorado, USA
Buena Vista to Beaver Creek over some tough trails and mountain passes incorporating some of the same areas as the Leadville run. Again, high altitude racing requiring expert acclimatisation. Ran well to get third place overall here despite being in my fifties. This race is very well organised with shower truck, great food and a multinational feel. Perhaps not the spectacular course of the European Trans Alpine run but also it has a more welcoming feel without the slightly abrasive treatment of overseas athletes that the German race has. Way better food than the German race. Read more about this experience.
Trans Alpine race
2011 - 8 Day Mountain Race from Germany to Italy
A massive mountain race over incredible passes and scenery which is very very tough indeed. The huge climbs and descents on rough terrain caused many injuries and it's in teams of two. You must be altitude ready and superbly prepared for this schedule to enjoy the event. However, it is the most beautiful race over mountains I have ever done, very very competitive and also unfortunately not at all welcoming to overseas athletes (it's a German race) with appalling food at times and poor accomodation also at times, especially the stopoff in Switzerland in a nuclear bunker which was depressing, hot and poor indeed. I did not mind really and jumped into a hotel here but the food was poor indeed in some towns and they could improve culture a lot if they wished. The race goes from Germany to Italy via spectacular terrain in Austria and Switzerland. I would say if you are ready for it, despite its negatives it's a great race. Read more about this experience.
2010 - Magnificent race in Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand (85km)
Great run but has been discontinued due to logistical challenges and the Organiser returning to Pro racing. The isolated area means racing in one direction with a long drive for supporters and the same back if going in that direction. Lovely run ending on the coast.
Old Ghost Rd
2017 - Westport, New Zealand (85km)
A real gem of a race and probably one of the best I have every done anywhere. Based in Westport you bus to the start at about 0400! Apart from that it's a superbly demanding mountain run which took me 10:44 approx and should not be entered unless you are really ready for stiff climbs and descents, isolated terrain and low race numbers. A real cracker... do it!
Swiss Alpine k78
2006 - Altitude run from the Alpine town of Davos in a big circuit.
Very enjoyable race in typical Swiss style through small villages with lots of support "hop hop hop".
Kepler Challenge 60km
Six times - Te Anau, New Zealand
This race has great pluses and a few minuses which probably reflect my own likes and dislikes so. Make your own choices. In the early days I felt it was less safety and 'too much kit' oriented with most runners well prepared, I felt it was run by runners. Now it suffers under a crazy amount of compulsory gear despite an easy possibility of drop bags and regardless of weather. I think it stems from lack of understanding of running by Organisers captured by the 'safety police'. However it is a great run if you can put up with that silliness. I would rather run courses on my own now than put up with such PC nonsense.
Six day Mt bike race which is well organised and hotel accommodation. Great riding, good food, good company and the mildly annoying need to jump on a bus quite a lot for new course journeys. Results in motel check outs and then journeys to different accommodation. Good trip and lovely riding. See images from this race.
2013 - Coromandel, New Zealand (70km)
Unusual enjoyable old style race with camping the night before and the run to Coromandel township the next day. This 70 should be treated in training like an 85 or 100km run. Why? It's pretty tough for that distance but lovely scenery with something of everything... beach, gravel, stiff climbing, rivers to jump or cross and a very thick tree stump and twisted tree section towards the end that you just can't run (only short). Read more about this experience.
Ironman NZ and Ironman Australia