The Race

8th annual Tarawera Ultramarathon. 6 February 2016.

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DateSaturday 6 February 2016
Distances60, 85, 100km. Relay options: 2 or 4 person for the 85km distance. More details on the Tarawera Ultra course.
EntryEntry opens on 1 June at 11am (NZ) time each year. Expect the race to sell-out. Entry is limited to 1000 entrants *each relay team counts as one entry.
Minimum age17* for the 100km and 16* for other distances. Note -athletes aged 17 and intending to compete in the 100km and athletes aged 16 and competing in either the 60 or 85km will be required to submit evidence to the organiser that they have participated in similar events.
Prizes and prize moneyThe top five place finishers (male and female) in each solo ultra distance receive a custom medal. The 100k winners receive a trophy. There is no prize money.
Race programmeThe latest race programme is here
Start LineThe Redwoods Visitors Centre - Rotorua New Zealand. Map
Start time6am on Saturday
Finish-lineThe Tarawera Falls for the 60km. Firmin Field Kawerau for the 100 85km and relays.
Race Week ScheduleRace weeks starts on Thursday with a fun run. There is an official race welcome, Expo, Seminars and Registration on Friday. Race day is Saturday and Prizegiving on Sunday. The latest schedule for the Tarawera Ultra race week.
The courseA point to point run from Rotorua to Kawerau. The majority of the run is on singletrack trails through native bush or forestry roads with less than 5% being on a sealed public road. In the Tarawera Forest you will be on deserted forestry roads, some of it, alongside the river. This is a trail run - not a road race.

Net downhill with a 357 metre (840 foot) elevation loss. The running surface is excellent with free-draining volcanic soils with some technical roots and rocks on the Okataina and Tarawera section of the course from Humphries Bay to The Outlet. More Info.
Information for Crew and Spectators and PacersCrew and Spectators and Pacer information is here. There is comprehensive information in the race guide also.


Tarawera Ultramarathon Mobile App
Follow the race on the mobile app – available on both iPhone and Android

Android app on Google Playiphone-app-button

The Rotorua Holiday Inn is the race venue. This is the location of race registration and briefing. There is a permanent 10% discount for everyone at this  venue. The discount is available not just during race week – but all year round – so it’s ideal or your training visits to the region. This is not only the registration/biefing location – but is also SUPER close to the race start.

Transport and Travel

1. See the travel page to Rotorua.
2. Race Start. Walk out the Rotorua Holiday Inn door sometime after 5.00am, and about 400 other people will be doing the same thing as you at the same time. Grab a ride with one of them.
3. Bus back to kawerau from 60km finish-line. We will be providing buses back to the finish-line.
4. Bus back to Rotorua. We have buses from the finish line in Kawerau back to the start. Pay for a bus ticket when you sign up online, or pay at registration on Friday before race day. The buses will depart Kawerau every hour from 4pm.  The bus will drop you back to the Redwoods and Rotorua Holiday Inn. You will need to show your bus ticket.
5.  There are plenty of cars heading out in the same direction as you, so it will be easy to grab a ride. Car from Kawerau to Rotorua Driving time is 50 minutes. If you have paid your bus money, you are welcome to instead grab a car ride back to Rotorua with other runners and their crew.

Weather forecast

iPods Yes, you may listen to music during the run. Don’t use them on the public road at Okareka, as you will be running with cars.

Athletes’ Emergency contact We will check the phone number of your emergency contact at race registration. This must be a contact who can be reached on race day.

Race numbers Runners of each distance are clearly recognised by their race number and the colour of the numbers.
> 1-600’s 100km ultra runners red numbers
> 800’s 85km ultra runners red numbers
> 1000’s 60km ultra runners red numbers
> 4000’s  relay runners blue numbers

85/100k pacers white numbers, same number as their runner. Pacer (left) white numbering and runner right (yellow numbering). Note that pacers have the same race number as their runner. All ultra runners have their name and country flag on their race numbers. All relay runners will have their team name. This will help you recognise and cheer on the runners.

Timing Chips Run over the timing mats at Blue Lake, Okareka, Okataina, Humphries Bay, Tarawera Falls, Titoki, Awaroa (the far end of the loop) and Fisherman’s Bridge Aid Stations.
Relay Teams – do not forget to hand over your timing chips at each relay changeover (Okareka, Okataina, Tarawera Falls).

Ultra-Trail® World Tour Visa Stamps
All 100km finishers are eligible for a visa stamp. You will receive a visa stamp when you cross the finish line in Kawerau. Ultra-Trail® World Tour passports will be sold at the Expo on Friday.

 Race Safety Please take care of both yourselves and the other competitors on the course. If someone needs help, please stop and help them. Some volunteers hold first aid qualifications. Some will have radio communications with the Race Director and Safety Director in case of an emergency. Mountain bike safety patrol will also be on hand to help you out. St. John’s ambulance will be present.

Food and drink at the Kawerau finish
There will be hot food and drink at the Kawerau finish line until 10pm. Make sure you include some cash in your finish line bag for extra food.

Pacers run for FREE. All pacers must check-in at the finish line in Kawerau and pick up a pacer number on race day. Pacer numbers will be white. This is so we know you are part of the event. You can pace your runner from the Aid Stations – Outlet, Tarawera Falls, Titoki, Fisherman’s Bridge and River Road. Competitors, you can use two pacers – but only one at a time (they must change over at an Aid Station). Buses will transport pacers into the Tarawera Forest.

You can find a pacer (or pacers can find runners) here on facebook

Race Day 6am Race Start
The race start will be very busy and crowded. To ensure we get underway on time, please aim to be at the start no later than 5.20am. There will be hot tea, coffee and espresso at the start. There will also be toilets and portaloos at the start.

Gates close to the Rotorua Redwoods at 11.30pm on race day.
IMPORTANT If you think you will be back in Rotorua after 11.30pm on Saturday evening, park your car outside the gates on Long Mile Road and walk (or hop a ride) to the start line (only 1km away). Please aim to assemble at the race start no later than 5.30am. The start area gets very busy after that time.

Parking will be tight. Essentially, the earlier you arrive, the closer you will park to the start line. Please park where directed on both sides of the road. There will be a 10-minute briefing before the race start. The race start is at the Redwoods Visitors Centre, Long Mile Road, Rotorua.

Sunrise is at 6:40am. The Redwood Grove is very dark prior to sunrise so having a headlamp is strongly recommended. We will have a volunteer pick up headlamps at the 5km point (at the water tower near Tarawera Road). You can ditch your named headlamp (and surplus clothing) with the volunteers and pick them up at the Kawerau finish.

Compulsory Gear:
In the week prior to the race and at registration, competitors will be advised, and again at the pre-race briefing, what compulsory clothing and equipment items they must carry (based on the expected weather conditions). If there is little risk of bad weather, the most likely Compulsory Gear list will be A.

There are three compulsory gear levels:
– A. No compulsory equipment
– B. Waterproof jacket
– C. Base Layer Long Top Wool/Polypropylene, Base Layer Long Pants Wool/Polypropylene, Waterproof Jacket (seam-sealed), Thermal Hat (Buff accepted), Thermal Gloves.

INSPECTION OF COMPULSORY ITEMS: If compulsory items are required for the race, the Race Director may choose to randomly spot check a sample of competitor items on the morning of the event at the race start. At least one random inspection of one or more item(s) will be undertaken along the course for all competitors.

We strongly recommend you carry water between aid stations. Optionally (but recommended) you should carry any gels or other form of calories with you between aid stations.

We also strongly recommend you plan ahead and have all items in B and C available to bring to Rotorua.

Race Numbers You MUST have your race numbers facing the front and timing chips attached to your ankle when you line up at the start. This is essential. Race numbers must be visible because they are recorded throughout the day. If numbers are not visible, we may need to stop you to check your number. There will be a compulsory 1 minute penalty in the sin-bin (at random locations) for runners failing to display their race numbers.

Course Markings Only follow the fluoro pink/orange ribbons in the trees, and red arrows. There should be no other markings. Any turns should be obviously marked with these pink/orange ribbons and/or red arrows. The wrong way will be indicated with hazard or warning tape. Glowsticks at the start and near the end glowsticks, fluoro ribbons/fluoro cones and glow spray will help to mark the course from the Awaroa Aid Station to the Kawerau finish line.


Aid Stations The Aid Stations are very generously stocked with food – ‘world-famous’ Heather Bars, endurolytes, lollies, chips (chicken, salted and salt & vinegar flavours), pretzels, sandwiches (with peanut butter, jam, Nutella and honey) fruit (bananas, watermelon, oranges, apples), ice, water, Coke, Mountain Dew, ginger beer and HEED. The order of the Aid Station offerings will be: drinks in cups > food > fruit > drink containers to fill your bottles > Vaseline and sunblock etc. Hammer gels will be in your race packs – and will not be distributed to the Aid Stations. We have budgeted on three gels per athlete. If you plan on relying on gels, make sure to bring plenty for yourself – do not rely on the gels in your race pack.

Signs will be placed 200 metres before the aid station. Exit signs will indicate distance to the next aid station.

Toilets There are six new toilets at the Redwoods Visitors Centre and there will be extra portaloos. There are also toilets at: Blue Lake Aid Station, Okareka Aid Station, Okataina Aid Station, Humphries Bay Aid Station, The Outlet Aid Station (over the bridge), Tarawera Falls (60km finish) and the finish line in Kawerau.

Etiquette and pooing / peeing 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.

Sometimes you will need to poo or pee when you are far away from a toilet. When that happens, you should step well away from sight (25 metres) and very far from waterways. Bury any waste by digging a deep hole with the heel of your shoe. Completely bury all waste.

Running extra (or less) distance If you have entered the 60km or 85km and you decide to run further, you must let the Aid Station volunteers at Tarawera Falls and Titoki respectively, know you are continuing on. To be fair, please pay the difference at the finish line (or Sunday morning) if you ran further. Comparing the entry form to the results – we’ll easily know who you are. If you entered the 100km or 85km and you complete the 85k or 60km instead, your result will not show as a DNF. Your results will be your place (and time) for that distance. If you drop at any point during the race, you must let the nearest Aid Station or a course marshal know that you have pulled out of the race.

Littering Anyone caught deliberately littering will be given the job of clearing gorse and blackberry by around Lake Okareka by hand wearing only jandals and shorts. You will be served warm orange cordial to keep you hydrated.

Withdrawing Any runner who is unable to finish the run must personally inform the nearest Aid Station captain of their decision to withdraw and make sure their race number is recorded. We will use forest radio or some other means to try and contact your crew. If you do not have a crew, we will do our best to transport you to where you need to go. Usually you won’t have to wait long but there is a chance you may have to wait several hours for a non-emergency lift back to Event HQ.

Drop Bags A support crew is certainly not necessary in the event. Drop bags are OPTIONAL for solo ultra runners and can contain your own goodies (gels, food, change of socks, shoes, shorts, bodyglide etc.). For solo ultra runners, at registration, you should put your filled and labelled drop bags and finish line bags in the pile for the correct Aid Station. These bags must be a soft, reasonable size – do not pack the kitchen sink. Leave your drop bags with us in the correct truck or van at race registration before 7pm Friday. Please do not use the drop bag service for any Aid Stations where your support crew will be definitely attending.

If you have a drop bag at an Aid Station you will be asked to move it from the ‘unused pile’ to the ‘used pile’ even if you did not use your drop bag. This allows us to transport your drop bags quickly back to the Kawerau finish line. This will help allow the drop bag tent to remain orderly for the benefit of runners yet to arrive. Drop bags must not contain any glass. All liquids must be secure.

Label your drop bags with your name and the correct Aid Station:
OKE  Okareka
AWA Awaroa**
OTA  Okataina
FSH Fisherman’s Bridge**
TAR  Tarawera Falls*
FIN Finish line in Kawerau***
TITO  Titoki Road**

* 60km runners Pack a change of clothes, comfy shoes/jandals, towel etc. for when you finish at the Tarawera Falls. There are beautiful places in the river for a swim near the Tarawera Aid Station. In Kawerau there are hot pools and free hot showers, so bring a towel. Pack some money for hot food and drinks at the Kawerau finish line.

** 85/100km runners. If you think you’ll need a headlamp for the finish, you can put it in your Titoki, Awaroa or Fisherman’s Bridge drop bag. Or your crew can deliver a headlamp to you at the Titoki, Fisherman’s Bridge or River Road Aid Stations. Kawerau Finish Line

***85/100km runners. Pack a change of clothes, comfy shoes/jandals, towel etc. Excellent swimming in the river plus free Kawerau hot pools and free hot showers so bring a towel. Pack some money for hot food and drinks. Remember to put your bus ticket in your finish line bag. Extra bus tickets will be available at Registration ($20).

Aid Station Distances

Aid StationKm coveredDistance to next (km)Distance from previous (km) Cut-Off
Tikitapu (Blue Lake)12.55.312.5
Millar Road20.716.62.9
Okataina Lodge37.39.816.61.20pm
Humphries Bay47.18.19.8
Tarawera Outlet55.25.48.1
Tarawera Falls (60km finish)
Titoki70.15.3km to Fishermans Bridge (85k course)
7.7 km to Awaroa (100k course)
9.5*5.50pm. This is for runners wishing to complete the 100km.
Awaroa (100km course only)(77.8 & 82.7)4.9km loop back to Awaroa. 8.1km to Fishermans Bridge7.7 and 5.3
Fisherman's Bridge75.4 (90.8)4.95.3 (8.1 from Awaroa)
River Road80.3 (95.7)5.04.9
Finish-line85.3 (100.7)05.0

Cut-off times Cut-off and pace times are shown in the tables. These cut-off times will be “extremely generous” meaning you have ample time to walk tough sections, stop at Aid Stations, and still get through. We have no intention of pulling people off the course for going slow.

At the same time, we do not want to have runners in the forest at midnight with the possums. These cut-offs represent an average of just under 11 minutes per km pace. In other words, just over seven and a half hours for a marathon. The 5.20pm cut-off at the Tarawera Falls Aid Station does not apply for runners completing the 60km solo run. The cut-off times in 2015 are a more generous (by 50 minutes) than 2012.

Cut-off times reflect the deadlines for LEAVING the Aid Station. If you return to an Aid Station after the cut-off, you will be pulled from the run. The Aid Stations will strictly enforce the cut-off times: anyone leaving an Aid Station after the cut-off time will be disqualified. This rule is for the safety of all participants. IF YOU MISS THE CUT-OFF, YOU MUST STOP. Significant sanctions will apply to anyone breaking this rule.

If you do not make the Titoki 100km cut-off time, you will need to finish on the 85km course. You cannot complete the 100km.

Aid Station Details 

Aid StationRunner km coveredEst. time: Front runnerEst. time: Final runnerCrew / spectator accessRelay change-overDrop bagsPacer start point
Start06:00 AM6:00 AMYes
Tikitapu (Blue Lake)12.57:008:00Yes
Okareka17.87:309:50Yes, Shuttle busYesYes
Millar Road20.77:4510:00No
Okataina Lodge37.38:501:00 PMYes, Shuttle busYesYes
Humphries Bay47.19:302:00No
Tarawera Outlet55.210:204:20No
Tarawera Falls (60km finish)60.611:005:30Yes, Shuttle busYesYesYes
Titoki70.11:10 PM5:40Yes, Shuttle busYesYes
Awaroa (100km course only)(77.8 & 82.7)12:20 and 12:457:00 PM & 7:30NoYes
Fisherman's Bridge75.4 (90.8)12:15 (1:10)9:00Yes, Shuttle busYesYes
River Road80.3 (95.7)12:20 (1:40)9:40Yes, Shuttle busYes
Kawerau Finish line for 85km and 100km85.3 (100.7)12:50 (2:00)10:50Yes

Podium Spots and Race Records
Runners who switch distances on race day and finish in the top 5 (men or women) for that distance will still be recorded for their time and place in that distance on the website.

However, for all media, prizegiving ceremony, place-getter medals, and official Tarawera Ultra communications, only those who entered that distance will be acknowledged as being in the top 5 per distance/gender.

Course records will be set by any runner who completes the distance in the fastest ever recorded time on race day. For example, it may be possible for an 85km or 100km entrant to break the 60km course record if they reach that Aid Station in the fastest ever time.

This is a running event, not a walk! Unless you are an exceptional walker (we have had one!) you cannot expect to walk the entire course and still finish before midnight. All runners will walk the course at times, especially the uphills. Runners will probably walk more later in the event as fatigue sets in.

Kawerau finish line food & drink The race will provide free drinks (a locally-brewed Croucher beer, ginger beer and other drinks) and fruit for each finisher (including 60km finishers that join us). Meals and drinks will be available to purchase so pack some money in your finish line bag for extra food and drinks. Hot food will be available until 10pm on race night – stay behind and cheer in the final runners to the finish of an epic day!

There are FREE Kawerau hot pools and hot showers at Maurie Kjar Pools in Kawerau. These are open and free to everyone (including the general public) before 8pm. After 8pm, the pools are booked to the Tarawera Ultra and you are still free to use them. You can only bring beer in to the pools after 8pm. There is a free spa pool and nice hot showers. The hot pools are opposite the Information Centre on Plunket Street, Kawerau.

Lost Property
Lost gear, start line headlamps and drop bags will be transported back to the Kawerau finish area and will be available throughout the day. Labelling or naming your gear is essential. Any unclaimed gear will be at prizegiving on Sunday morning. After that, all lost gear will be stored at 2 Pukehangi Road, Rotorua. We very, very strongly recommend that you claim all of your lost gear before leaving town.


itra-memberThe guiding principles of this race are enshrined in the charter of the International Trail Running Association.

The purpose of the performance rules for this event is to ensure the run’s integrity as a test of individual performance, providing equal conditions for all. The guiding principles are as simple as: play fair, be safe, and respect the land. Violations of any rules may be grounds for disqualification for one or more years, or other sanctions such as time penalties, fines, and/or disqualification from awards. In the case of very serious breach of these rules, Race Directors of the Ultra-Trail World Tour will be informed of the misconduct with possible sanctions across a number of events.

  • There will be no unofficial runners.
  • Each runner’s official race number must be worn prominently on the front of the body and must be easily visible at all times.
  • Runners must follow the marked trail at all times. Any runner departing from the official trail must return to the point of departure on foot before continuing.
  • Each runner must complete the entire course under his or her own power. No physical or mechanical aids are allowed, including but not limited to mountain bikes or boats.
  • Except in case of injury, distress or medical emergency, runners may not accept pushing or pulling assistance in any form from anyone between checkpoints.
  • Runners may not store supplies of any kind along the trail.
  • Littering of any kind is prohibited. Please respect the natural beauty of our trails and the right of everyone to enjoy them.
  • Runners must refrain from any act of bad sportsmanship.
  • Smoking (yucky) is not permitted at any of the checkpoints or along the trail. Anyone who smokes in the Tarawera Forest will be immediately removed by security. Both the smoker and their runner will receive a permanent lifetime ban from this event.
  • Any runner who is unable to finish the run must personally inform the nearest Aid Station captain of the nearest checkpoint of their decision to withdraw, and make sure their race number is recorded.
  • Runners who leave the course without turning in their race number will be classified as “lost”. The runner will be contacted on their cellphone and their emergency contact will be called. If there is no response from either party or the emergency contact does not know the status of the runner, a search will be activated. Costs for searching for any such runner will be charged to the runner.
  • Be respectful of all other users, such as recreational walkers.
  • You must stay on the course. Short cuts are not permitted.
  • The runner is responsible for the actions of their support crew. Support crews must comply with all instruction from event staff and officials. The runner may be penalised or disqualified for actions or breaches of the rules by their support crew.


Tarawera Ultra – Anti-Doping Policy and Statement.

As a privately-owned event and a major event in the sport of trail ultra-running globally, we are working hard to ensure our sport remains clean of performance enhancing drugs. To this end, race management is in regular communication with Drug Free Sport NZ regarding anti-doping programmes. From these communications, we have taken the following steps:

  1. Race management reserves the right to drug test any athlete competing in this event – from the time of registration to the completion of the event. Agreement to submit to drug testing is a condition of entry. Any testing will be conducted in a manner consistent with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code including the WADA Prohibited List. (See link below for more information on those requirements.)
  2. No athlete that is currently serving a sanction for violating sports anti-doping rules may enter the Tarawera Ultramarathon or Tarawera Trail Marathon &50km.
  3. No athlete that was issued a sanction between 1 January 2013 and 31 Dec. 2014 for violating sports anti-doping rules may enter the Tarawera Ultramarathon or Tarawera Trail Marathon &50km until 1 Jan. 2017.

Race management will disqualify the entry of any athlete violating (2) or (3) who attempts to enter these events.

Race management will provide anti-doping education to our participants, in conjunction with Drug Free Sport NZ. Considerable resources for athletes, coaches and support staff is on the Drug Free Sport NZ website:


Qualification Runs for other major world ultra races. 

wser100The Tarawera Ultramarathon 100km distance is a qualifying race for the Western States 100 mile endurance run, held in California each year. See qualification requirements.


The Tarawera Ultramarathon (both 85km and 100km) count for points towards qualifying for UTMB events, held in August each year.  See points value and  qualification requirements.