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Tarawera Ultramarathon

06-Feb-2019 Rotorua, New Zealand


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Trail Race Race Terrain
100KM / 62Miles
1 Day

DIFFICULTY Race Difficulty Expert  

The Tarawera Ultramarathon offers four different ultra distances: 161 (100mile), 102, 87 and 62km. The two top distances are qualification races for the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. All distances are UTMB qualifying races for 2019.

The race starts in Kawerau and finishes in Rotorua (Bay of Plenty).

The route is very scenic and is not too hilly. Cut-off times and aid stations are in place with food and beverages.

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Elevation: Very little change < 500 metres. Benign running terrain, not technical.

Suitable for: First ultra runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running in the last six months.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1000 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed at least one ultra distance race (or similar event) or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 1500 metres

Suitable for: Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat) and or technical terrain

Suitable for: Experienced runners who have completed at least regular ultra distances in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.


Elevation: Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude) and or technical terrain.

Suitable for: Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to evidence of recent qualifying race participation and recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

Review Tarawera Ultramarathon

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01:07 25-02-18

The Tarawera Ultra marathon is one of New Zealand’s' largest ultra events and part of the Ultra Trail World Series. It is a 5 day affair with activities starting off on the Wednesday and stretching right through to the Sunday night.

The event offers something for everyone, 62km, 87km, 102km and new for 2018 'the miler'; 100 miles which includes a boat ride. In addition there are teams doing the relays. Distances could be changed at registration the day before and with a fully marked course, ample aid stations (10 or 11 over the 102km distance) and huge amounts of Kiwi love, there is no excuse not to explore this vast land of sacred trails.

A traditional Powhiri welcome onto the sacred land the day before nails home how special this event is. With free entry into one of the geothermal parks as well, the event really goes that extra mile.

The 2018 event had ordered some rather horrific weather, 48 hours before the day. Torrential rain which persisted throughout the race, making the 'very run able' course tougher than a Tougher Madder and with an upgrade to the compulsory kit, safety was taken very seriously.

All aid stations were supplied with more than the local supermarkets; a delightful buffet of peanuts, jellies (sweets like jelly babies), chips (crisps), water and free mixed tailwind, so there is really no need to take too much in your backpack.

The 102 course starts off with single track bush then merges into wide forestry trails. It passes the amazing 'Tarawera Falls' a huge and beautiful awe-inspiring waterfall. It meanders around more bush and around stunning lakesides to the final 5km where runners would enter a volcanic playground of steaming vents and boiling pools of thermal activity to ease those ultra worn feet.

With the shorter distances all merging at some point onto the 102 course, there was always enough space on the course, but always someone nearby at the same time.

The torrential rain for 2018 meant that the second half of the course was a complete mud bath, some estimated around 20 miles. Ankle deep, sticky, many a feet would sink deep into the rich terracotta waterlogged gulley’s for many a miles to follow.

Although there was 9000ft of climb, often the hills were never the sort of 'up' you could ‘see’. It therefore never felt as bad as it would have looked on paper.

Such a contrast of surroundings in this event. In no other race have I ever ran though such a variety of terrain.

The event finished for the first time in 2018 at Government Gardens in the centre of Rotorua - an amazing setting in a fantastic location. Each and every finisher was presented with a fantastic 'wooden' engraved Tarawera Ultra marathon medal with the specific distance inscribed below; an awesome piece of bling to add to the collection of standard metal medals. One to certainty be proud of.

You'd be daft not to... when in New Zealand.

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01:07 15-02-17

A super well orgainised event - with great atmosphere before during and after - real support from all runners, watchers and volunteers. This years event was taken out by a super fast Jim Walmsley in record time - for us mortals (me) started in the dark and 15 hours later finished in the dark with a real sense of achievement - scenery superb, but overall the aid stations (11 of them in the 102km course) were exceptional - loved this run

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09:47 11-02-16

An incredibly scenic course for the first 60km, followed by lots of forest running for the final 40km. The aid stations are exceptional, the best I've seen in any races. The whole race is an event and well worth a trip to NZ to experience.

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01:32 11-02-16

A tough as hell course in a beautiful setting with well organised, and mindblowing aid stations. Highly recommended, and worth the trip to NZ for

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