the race

RACE DAY: Saturday 7 February, 2015

The 2014 runners guide has information on last years' event. It will remain essentially unchanged for 2015.

6:30am start at the Redwoods Visitors Centre in Rotorua. The schedule has details.

the race
For runners

For crew, supporters, pacers

Training Tips

Get the latest info.

Subscribe to the Tarawera Ultra newsletter. You can read past issues online.


Entry is online only. The field is limited to 1000 runners. List of current entrants.



The race week schedule (Thursday to Sunday) will be updated frequently as we approach race week. Plan to be in Rotorua from Thursday through Sunday to take part in all of the activities.


Special Tarawera Ultramarathon accommodation is at the Rotorua Holiday inn. This is the same location as race registration / packet pick-up on Friday. There are special deals. Here is the online booking form with the Tarawera Ultra. discount code. The discount is valid for the entire week either side of race day.

Race Registration and race packet pickup

Will be at Holiday Inn, Rotorua on Friday afternoon/evening (times to be confirmed). If you have drop bags and finish-line bags, please hand them in at registration. You will not be able to register on race day morning.


Distances and changing distance

There are 3 race distances:

1. 100km: Rotorua to Kawerau.

2. 85km: Rotorua to Kawerau.
3. 60km: Rotorua to Tarawera Falls.

You can change distance (longer or shorter) during the race if you are feeling really good (or crappy). Just tell the aid station staff you are carrying on - or stopping. There are 2 places to do this:
1. Tarawera Falls Aid Station - you can decide to carry-on and do the 85 or 100k or stop and complete the 60k.
2. Titoki Aid Station - you can choose between 85 and 100km.


On Friday at registration, if you are confident that you'll be running longer on shorter - please tell us and we'll make sure you are signed up for the right distance.

During the first week of February (transfer week) , you will be able to change your registration details, such as name, country flag on your race number and distance entered.


Solo and Relay Options

You can complete the 85 km distance as a solo runner or as part of a 2 or 4-person relay team. Each relay stage packs in a lot of scenery. Relay options are not available for the 60 or 100k course. You may "unofficially" complete the relay as a 3-person team - but there is no official category for this).


Runner 1: Start to Okareka 18.5km.
Runner 2: Okareka to Okataina: 17.5km.
Runner 3: Okataina to Tarawera Falls: 23.8km.
Runner 4: Tarawera Falls to Finish: 23.6km

Aid Stations

There will be 11 (13 for 100k runners) aid stations along the course. The largest gap between aid stations occurs between the start of the Western Okataina Walkway (Millar Road) and the Okataina Lodge Aid Station. Be prepared to cover many km of wilderness terrain under your own resources in this section.

All aid stations will have a "California-ultra style" buffet going. You'll have all sorts of food and drink on offer. If you were not running an ultramarathon you'd probably gain weight.

Aid Station

Runner km

Est. time: front runner

Est. time: Final runner

Crew / spectator access


Drop bags

Pacer start-point



6:30 AM

6:30 AM





Tikitapu (Blue Lake)
















Millar Road








Okataina Lodge



1:20 PM

Yes – includes shuttle bus from Okataina Outdoor Education Centre




Humphries Bay








Tarawera Outlet








Tarawera Falls (60k finish)




Yes – includes shuttle bus from Rotoiti Road / Tarawera Falls intersection






12:40 PM


Yes – includes shuttle bus from Edwards Road Bridge intersection




Awaroa (100k course only)

(77.0 & 82.3)

12:50 and 1:15

7:20 PM & 7:50





Fisherman's Bridge

74.4 (90.7)

12:45 (1:40)






River Road

79 (95.3)

12:50 (2:10)







84.2 (100.5)

1:15 (2:30)






Aid station fare includes: water, HEED sports drink, endurolyte capsules, hammer gels, Heather Bars (world-famous at Tarawera), coke, mountain dew, bananas, melon, peanut butter, nutella and jelly sandwiches, chips, cookies, jellybeans, salt. Vaseline and some other small supplies like bandages will also be available.

** Cut-off for the 100k only. If you fail to make this Aid Station by 6pm, you'll need to complete the 85km course. Performance rules.

Trail markings

The trail will be marked with brightly coloured (pink and orange) ribbons and white signs with red arrows. Each major turn or intersection will be clearly marked with an arrow. Any road section will be marked with both tape and cones (and a course marshall if appropriate). The trail is very easy to follow. Given it's vast distance there are surprisingly few turns. 

At dusk, glowsticks, lights (and anything else fluro we can find) will be laid out to help the 85 and 100k runners stay on track to Kawerau. There will also be glowsticks on the course at the start. The race begins in the Rotorua Redwoods at 6:30 am. It is very dark for the first 10-15 minutes of the race. Most runners will wear headlamps for tis sections.


Etiquette and Toilets

You will be sharing these trails with hikers and trampers. Please make sure you move off the trail to allow these other users to pass by. When passing slower runners, please indicate that you'd like to pass by saying "passing on your left (or right)" when overtaking.

There are many toilets along the course - use them. We know that sometimes nature calls and when it does you should step well away from sight and very far from waterways. Bury any waste by digging a deep hole with the heel of your shoe. Peeing and pooing on the trail is very uncool. The toilets are at:

- The Start (Redwoods Visitors Centre)

- Blue Lake (when you first see Blue Lake - turn left (you have now left the course - the toilets are 400 metres away near the lake edge)

- Blue Lake (same as above - just before you exit on to Okareka Loop Road - the toilets are now 300 metres on your right - near the lake edge)

- Okareka Aid Station - the toilets are clearly visible

- Okataina - as you exit the bush track, the toilets are on your left - about 100 metres before the aid station table.

- Humphries Bay - toilets are near the aid station

- Outlet - toilets are over the bridge (and turn left) at the aid station, and

- Tarawera Falls - toilets are on the RHS (and hidden in the bush a little) as you finish the 60km run.

Drop Bags (optional)
Must be handed in at race registration (Friday). Drop bags are for your own special needs supplies such as clothing, a change of socks, hat, bodyglide, your favourite gels, sunglasses or even a change of shoes. Drop Bags are OPTIONAL. You can also stuff your surplus clothing in to your drop bag if you get too hot during the run. All drop bags must be handed in to race officials at registration on Friday. If you hand them in to us on Saturday, we cannot guarantee they will be delivered to the correct aid stations.

- Don't overfill drop bags or use flimsy supermarket shopping bags if you want to protect your stuff -- they break easily -- and will likely get thrown around.

- Place an easily identifiable mark on the outside of the bag. Rubbish bags are easily confused because so many people use them.

  • Compulsory if you use drop bags you must put your name, number, and drop bag location on the bag using a waterproof marker. The five drop bag locations are Okareaka (OKE), Okataina (OTA) and Tarawera (TAR), Titoki (TIT) and Awaroa (AWA).

  • - For 85 and 100k runners, if you think you may be running through the night, it may be useful to pack a headlamp in the Titoki and/or Awaroa Drop bags. If you use crew and bags, have your crew take your bag from the aid station when you are done with it. If you do not get your drop bags back at the end of the race - we'll have them at prize-giving brunch on Sunday or mail them to you.

  • - Put warm clothes, shoes, jandals, a towel in your finish-line drop bag. You'll want to change out of stinky running clothes and swim in the river at the 60k finish-line or swim in the river and hotpools in Kawerau.

Crewing and pacing

Friends and family (your crew) might like to help you out on your journey and cheer you on. They are certainly welcome to do so. A pacer is a runner that can accompany you during this event. Only solo runners undertaking the 85 or 100km courses are allowed pacers. Crewing and pacing for the Vibram Tarawera Ultra.

Start and finish areas

Start: The Redwoods Visitors Centre, Long Mile Road, Rotorua
Easily accessible from Rotorua. Toilet facilities. Plenty of parking. Gates to Long Mile Road close at 8PM. If you will not be back by then, park your car outside the gates (near Tarawera Road) and grab a lift to Visitors Centre. Coffee/espresso/tea available.


The 60k finish-line at Tarawera Falls.
This finish-line is at the Tarawera Falls carpark. For crew, access is via forestry roads. Shuttle buses will take you from your cars to the 60km finish-line (and back again). Please make sure you have warm, dry clothes in your drop bag if you are finishing the 60k run. The finish is adjacent to the Tarawera River - an excellent spot for a swim. Volunteers will be on hand to transport you back to Kawerau - or grab a ride with another runner. There will be lots of food and drink for you.


The 85 and 100k finish-line in Kawerau 
Finish is at Firmin Field in Kawerau (waterhouse Street, Kawerau). The finish is adjacent to the Tarawera River. We'll have some free cold drinks for you as well as some yummy hot food (small cost) from the local rugby club. Drop bags from will be bought back to the finish-line. Buses to Rotorua will leave from Firmin Field at regular intervals. Ask for a ride to the hotpools for a soak and free hot showers.


ultra trail world tour
The ranking of the 2014 Ultra-Trail® World Tour will be determined as follows.

• Minimum 2 finish completed to enter in the ranking

• Maximum 3 best results taken in consideration, including a maximum of 2 results of the series.

A male ranking and a female ranking calculated with the same rules

All finishers of each race of the UTWT will be assigned a number of points.

Qualification for Western States 100-mile endurance run.

For the 2014 WSER, You must finish the Tarawera Ultra.100km in 15 hours or less.

For the 2015 WSER, you must finish the Tarawera Ultra.100km in 16 hours or less.

Qualification race for Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.

For the 2015 race, we assume points will be:
Tarawera Ultramarathon 100km = 2 points
Tarawera Ultramarathon 85km = 2 points
Tarawera Ultramarathon 60km = 1 point.


Leave the dog at home. Due to sensitive Kiwi habitat and rare bird species, dogs are forbidden in the scenic reserves. 

Anyone caught littering will be given the job of clearing gorse and blackberry by around Lake Okareka hand wearing only jandals and shorts. 

Kawerau is one of the warmest places in New Zealand and this run is in late summer. Expect temperatures to be in the low to mid 20's. Prepare for changeable weather. We will include extra watermelon and ice etc. at aid stations if the weather looks like it will be warm. 

Visit Rotorua, food and things to do

For good reason, Rotorua is one of the world's best known tourist destinations. Visit Rotorua has details of fun things to do, events, Maori culture and scenery. We recommend staying at holiday Inn, Rotorua. Grab a bite to eat at Abracadbra's bar and cafe, or pick up your supplies from the convenient Pak N Save, Rotorua. For fun, you could hurtle down the hill in an Ogo or soak in the luxury of Polynesian Spa - one of the world's top spa resorts. See the Travel page.

Cultural values 
The run passes through many important places for the local Maori people. This run has been routed so that you do not disturb or impact on these sacred sites. If you are a visitor to the area you will have many opportunities to learn about Maori culture during your stay in Rotorua.

Our Sponsors who go the extra mile...

Vibram Five Fingers Events & Venues Rotorua Allied Industrial Engineering Injinji Performance Toe Socks  
Kawerau District Council ultraspire Hammer Nutrition Rotorua Holiday inn  

Mark Copelan Lawyer trHell Pizza Buff Abracadbra Cafe and Bar Rotorua
Polynesian Spa Pak N Save Rotorua Kajaval Forestry Ltd