Location: Rotorura, New Zealand (North Island)
Details: 102 KM (also 62 or 87 KM), Vertical Gain 2720m
Website: Tarawera Ultra Marathon
Date: February 11th, 2017
This is an ideal race for trail runners who have the time to use this race as a reason (excuse) for a family vacation.
Before arriving in New Zealand, a visit to Australia is highly recommended: the Australia Open Tennis Tournament take place in Melbourne in January, running on the beautiful trails in the Blue Mountains near Sydney is a must for every trail runner followed by a visit to Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef.
This race is part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour and, therefore, attracts numerous elite runners from around the world.
The course is quite runnable but includes a number of technical sections and climbs. The trails are meandering along pristine lakes, forests and the Tarawera Falls.
The host city, Rotorua, is only a 3 hours drive from Auckland. The town itself offers various activities like canopy zip-lining. rolling downhill inside a huge balloon-like vessel filled with water and other adventures. The thermal baths are perfect for recovery after the race.
However, Rotorua is a fairly big – not terribly attractive – town on Lake Rotorua
All Aid stations made enormous efforts, not only to assist runners but also entertain them.
I expected to complete this race in 14-15 hours but ended up using 17.5 hours. Fortunately, I had a pacer, my son Akio, getting me through the last 10K in a pitch dark forest.
My poor wife was waiting for me at the finish line for hours because of my miscalculation of the expected finish time.
This was a well-organized and fun race in excellent weather conditions.