Aunty Ice Axe has long acknowledged that it is pointless to try to keep pace with the modern world. In an age where the term 'obsolete' has been redefined to mean “a different-shape model with a hipper-sounding name for twice the price was released five seconds ago”, it is easier both on the wallet and the recycling bin just to pedal along in the bicycle lane of life. If this means not so much being overtaken by events as being lapped by them, then so be it. Concerned friends have informed Aunty that very shortly all communication will take place via electronic devices, and you will look to your loved one's Facebook page to inform you how the relationship is going for them. Aunty remains resolutely outside the pale of modern technology – at least until a mobile phone has been developed that can fix the communicant with a look approximating an Aunt-level cocktail of paint-stripper and glacial ice.

The modern obsession with speed is entirely alien to Aunty's sense of what is fit and right. Consider the removal of the one-lane bridges which used to decorate our highways: Whatever it is about Greymouth that justifies spending millions of dollars so that we can get there 2 minutes faster has certainly so far escaped Aunty's notice. And why is it a benefit that your boss knows how to contact you anywhere 24 hours a day?

A tramping club is therefore a natural Aunt environment – travel at a decorous pace, robustness and durability respected over slim-line racing-snake speed, gore-tex the fashion-fabric of choice, and a committee dedicated to ensuring that nothing changes without exhaustive discussion of every angle... Thus when a 'Round Mt Somers' event was mooted three years ago Aunty was content to stand by and let the idea die its natural and well-deserved death, throw a thankful hypocritical wreath onto the grave, and carry on as before.

Imagine the shock to even as robust and durable a frame as the redoubtable Aunt's when, by the second year of the event, the idea had not only refused to expire gracefully but had grown and seemed to have almost the entire club held, laocoön-like, in its serpent coils. It is a reliable oppressed-Aunt maxim that, if you can't beat them in a fair fight, then assume protective camouflage and boldly step into the enemy camp to see what can be done with some undermining from the inside... Aunty duly signed up to participate in the 2010 event.

With a build more suited to a boarding-school matron or Soviet-bloc shot-put champion than a runner, Aunty wisely suppressed any passing temptation toward lycra and was initially determined to tramp the course at the kind of brisk but dignified pace suited to an Aunt who, say, has only five minutes to get to the bar before last orders. However, safely away from (i.e., well behind) the rest of the field, even Aunty gave way to the urge to gallop on the more tractable and downward sloping parts of the course. (Unkind suggestions that the subsequent earthquake was precipitated by the resulting seismic disturbances have been entirely refuted by the same experts who thought that foundations were an optional extra for building on a reclaimed swamp...) By the end of the race, Aunty Ice-Axe was hooked – once revived after diving head-first across the finish-line, she could think of nothing but bettering her time the following year.

Some considerable adjustment to the usual regime was clearly required of an Aunt whose previous notion of a balanced diet had been a piece of chocolate cake in each hand. However, secure in the knowledge that alcohol is very high calorie (and Aunty's own patent Old Growler can out-gun even double-fudge cheesecake in the killer-joule stakes) and that the protein requirement could be taken care of by the matutinal raw-egg hangover-jalop, Aunty was able to combine both the exercise and diet components of her training program by substituting regular punishing sprints to the bar for the previous brisk and dignified last orders pace. Nobody could have described the result as poetry in motion unless they were a fan of the more dissonant beat poets but Aunty was confident of the effectiveness of her approach.

The popularity this year's Mt Somers Challenge showed the far-sightedness of this conversion to the faster forms of foot-travel: club members more resolute even than Aunty in their avoidance of all things modern had signed up to take part. The fame of event had even spread far enough to attract considerable interest from outside the club. Indeed there was a potentially awkward moment when one of these non-members cantered home a comfortable ten minutes or so ahead of the rest of the field. Fortunately the organisers, acting with commendable despatch, immediately disqualified him on the grounds of being first (with great generosity of spirit however, they did later award him the 'first back before the winner' prize and one of the coveted tee-shirts).

Aunty was slightly disappointed that the training program did not produce the expected results in terms of turn of speed, but she remains a convert to the benefits of pounding determinedly around the less-frequented and more geologically-robust parks of the city in custom-made extra-large-plus-bunion-space running shoes in bright pink (horses sweat, men perspire, women glow, and Aunts in motion match their shoes...). However, she sees no need to supplement the exercise by texting a cacophony of mutilated consonants as she moves. Nor does she have to be plugged into an i-noise to be capable of sustaining even an Aunt version of rhythm and movement (although Beethoven's Fifth might be suitable if the need for musical accompaniment ever arose). The fine line between graceful adaptation to the modern age and complete capitulation is still assiduously patrolled by Aunty Ice Axe in motion.