FAQ: some of your common ultra. questions are answered



The most common question from potential entrants is "I do not know if I can do this" To which I usually answer, "that's the whole point". This is not designed to be an event that you know with certainly you can finish. It is designed to be an adventure that will push many of you to run further than you have before.

If you have completed a marathon previously, you are well on track to finish any distance of the Tarawera Ultra. If you have successfully completed an event like the Kepler Challenge, Heaphy Five-O, Molesworth Ultra., a full Ironman Triathlon, Coast to Coast or Lake to Lighthouse Adventure Races, the 100km ultra-distance is well within your grasp. You'll still have to train diligently though.

If you have completed a half Ironman or any of the trail running Triple Crown Series (Toi's Challenge, The Great Kauri Run of The Goat Adventure Race), in the previous year, you are well on your way to tackle the 60km, 80km or possibly even the 100km distances, depending on your fitness level.

if you have a history of tramping in the hills and have strong legs and endurance, you should be able to complete any of the ultra. distances, even with little running background.

Sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind and do it.


Training and training runs

See trail running, ultramarathons and ultra marathon tips.


Most sections of the course are on public land which you may access at any time. Please be aware, the Tarawera Forest is a commercial forest and you'll need a permit to enter. This permit is available from the Kawerau Information Centre. Parts of the Tarawera Forest (Titoki Road, Awaroa Road, Cummings Road, Mangawhio) are part of the forestry estate. You should not enter these areas for training runs since commercial logging operations may be in progress and hunters in the forest at this time of year. River Road in the Tarawera Forest is public.


Here are some recommended training runs:

- Follow the Black Track on this map to the far side of the Blue Lake then lop around the lake and follow the black route back home to the Redwoods Visitors centre. This black track run to the far side of the Blue Lake and the loop around the lake follows the Tarawera Ultra. route exactly.

- Miller Road to Lake Okataina and back. This run can be done from the opposite direction. Start at the start of the Western Okataina Walkway and run all the way to Lake Okataina (Okataina Lodge area) and back again. This will give you some decent hills. The track is lightly traveled to expect to be out on your own for most of the day. The water in the creeks is OK to drink.

- Tarawera Falls to Okataina Lodge-return or Tarawera Outlet to Okataina Lodge return.

-- Tarawera Forest, there are many nice runs from the finish-line area at Firmin Field, past the golf course and along River Road in the Tarawera Forest.

If you have someone to pick you up, three good one-way runs include:
1. The start to the Okataina Outdoor Education Centre (Chris Morrissey did this one last year).
2. The Okataina Outdoor Education Centre to Tarawera Falls.
3. The Tarawera Outlet to Kawerau (lots of runners from the Whakatane Harriers did this last year).



The race starts at 7am. Under the Redwoods its quite dark at this hour - even though the sun has just risen. Headlamps are optional. We'll have someone collect them from you at the water tank (about 5km in).

Some competitors, especially for the 100k may finish in the dark. Headlamps should be placed in your drop bags at the Titoki and/or Awaroa Aid Stations.



Trail shoes are certainly recommended for the Western and Eastern Okataina Tracks and for the Northern Tarawera Track. Much of the remainder can be completed in road shoes. remember you have drop bags and crew access so you can change shoes if you wish.


Carrying water?

It is recommended (although not compulsory) to carry water between aid stations. The longest stretch is between the Miller Road Aid Station and Okataina. You will need water here. You can drink most of the natural water on the course - including the streams on the Western Okataina walkway, the creek before Awaraoa Aid Station and the creeks after the Fishermans Bridge and River Road Aid Stations.


Compulsory gear

There are no compulsory gear requirements. Just be sensible. You should be used to long runs on trails. The aid stations will be well stocked, you'll have the chance to place drop bags along the course and pacers are allowed.



Lots of cars from other runners etc. will be near the 60km finish to transport you back to the finish-line in Kawerau and to give you a lift to the hotpools. Just ask.
Your pacers will be responsible for getting themselves in to the forest.

Back to Rotorua Buses will be available to take runners back to Rotorua.

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