5X Club

5X Finishers Club – Finishers of any five Tarawera distances

42.2 | 50 | 62 | 87 | 102 | 160km




I was fortunate enough to take part in the inaugural Tarawera Ultra Marathon back in 2009. I’d just discovered ultras the year before but this was my first proper trail event. There are two enduring memories from that day. The first was at the briefing where I saw my first collection of trail runners and saw what a scrawny and ultra-fit bunch they were mostly. I felt somewhat out of place! The second memory was the sneaky hill placed about 1km from the finish – it nearly killed me and I can’t blame Tim!

The next time I entered I stepped up to the 100km distance followed by the 60. I returned in 2014 to run the new 50km event and had a crazy idea to do a double 100 the next year which almost came off.

In 2015 I knocked off the Tarawera marathon to complete my 5-event medal collection. A non-running injury laid me low for a while but I returned to struggle around the very wet and miserable 2016 67km course.

My dream to complete the first double Tarawera 100 was realised in 2017 – 204km! What an emotional day (/night/day/night) only made possible by Paul, Tim and the team – thanks guys!

The Numbers:
21-Mar-2009 Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 85km-ish
19-Mar-2011 Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 100km
17-Mar-2012 Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 60km
15-Nov-2014 Tarawera – 50km
7-Feb-2015 Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 87km – (almost double 100 + 87)
14-Nov-2015 Tarawera Marathon – 42.195km
6-Feb-2016 Tarawera Ultra – 67km
11-Feb-2017 Tarawera Ultra Marathon – 102km (double 204km!)

Simon Clendon



My 1st ever running event was The Goat in Dec 2013, I must have enjoyed it, as within 3 months I had completed my initial Marathon & then Ultramarathon: Tarawera 62Km (March 2014).

I followed this with the 50km (Nov 2014), the 102km (Feb 2015), entered the 42Km (Nov 2015) but had to withdraw due to an unexpected overseas trip, breaking my consecutive medal streak 🙁

2016 saw me finish my medal collection with the 87km in February & the 42km in November.

I returned for a relay in Feb 2017 & will probably do another in 2018.
The Tarawera running community is fantastic & these events are just awesome to be a part of, thanks to Paul & Tim & the many others behind the scenes, who contribute to making these races so special.

Stephen Healy



It was a 30 second conversation with Peter at one of my first runs with the Browns Bay Critical Mass crew soon after the cyclone course happened that got me hooked. It went something like this: Pete: you should do it…. do the 100 not the 85 that’s a waste its only 15km more. Insert thinking time. Approx. 10 seconds….. Me: why the f not. Ok sign me up.

Come opening day had already booked accommodation etc. Had done a few Oxfam trail walkers (one with Kim Allen) before she became ultra ultra girl. Thanks Kim by the way for inspiring me) but with only one Kepler under my belt was inexperienced in ultras so now had to train well beyond the 20 odd marathons I had done. I wanted to get under 16hrs. Thought this was realistic so really happy with about 14.50 for my first 100k run.

Then I needed a new challenge – luckily Paul introduced the membership deal… Great sign me up I say. Unfortunately I couldn’t do the inaugural 50km but have now done them all, even the “boring” 87 and am now on my second rotation. Just hoping a 100miler can be added soon..

To all those strangers when I turned up at the Okataina training camp in January of 2015, you are no longer strangers but great running buddies. Jumbo Rich, Bryony and of course Simon Clendon who rode in on his bike, plus Vicki Wooley, are just a few of many who I officially met there (in fact I was in awe of Vicki at that point too. Still am actually.) And for all those no longer with us, let’s thank Tim and Paul and all the Tarawera crew for allowing us to do what we in such beautiful settings.

Races completed: 
2017 62km
2016 87 and 42
2015 100 and 5

Bronwyn Mckeague



Being at the Kepler Challenge finishing line for my husband’s 7 in 7 Challenges in 2009 and 2010 inspired me to give the Kepler a go in 2011. After running that high ridgeline I was hooked and quickly turned my attention to the Tarawera Ultra distances.

My first was TUM60 in 2012 a fairly intimate race back then – I think there were a dozen or so people at the Tarawera Falls finish line to welcome us home. I couldn’t get over how enthusiastic Paul was, he genuinely wanted every single runner to have the best experience of their life – for them to inspire themselves in some way about what was possible. The competitors themselves were amazing too. I mean how mad is it to run so blooming far and be so bloody happy?! It was impossible not to go back for more.

Various extreme weather conditions (many will recall ‘The Fire Course’ of 2013 and the ‘Cyclone Year’ of 2014 ) and a full time support role during the High Five-0 Challenge in 2015 stalled my plans to get from Rotorua to Kawerau on foot on race day. This goal was finally conquered in 2016. Although the weather was pretty rubbish that year, it was Kawerau or bust for me – and bust just simply wasn’t an option.

Thanks so much to Paul, Tim and all the TUM team for allowing us to have so much fun in the outdoors discovering that we are all capable of so much more than we thought.

2012 60km
2013 85km (The fire course horror!)
2014 74km (My first 100km was going to be a dead cert – curse that Cyclone Lusi!)
2014 50km
2015 At TUM supporting the High Five-0 Challenge
2015 42km (Technically 5xTUM medals but the 74km just didn’t really cut it)
2016 102km (well hello Kawerau!!!)

Sally Law












My running journey started, when as a 58 year old that had never run more than a few steps all his adult life, my Doctor told me to lose weight, I was overweight, pre-diabetic, had high cholesterol. Oh, and my blood pressure was too high! This was all reinforced by the reflection of the old bloke with a verandah belly that kept pace with me in shop windows!

Having never been a gym person, running around the block seemed like the solution, so in January 2013 that’s what I started doing, barely able to run the length of two consecutive power poles when I started. The training plan said “do whatever you can manage for 20 minutes!”. After a month or two the goal was to run 8K in an hour so I could run the Waiuku Sand to Mud. Then it was to run a 21.1K, and then a Marathon. Not long after this, quietly, when running on a longish downhill stretch where every step came easy, came the thought “I wonder what it’s like to run a 100K!”.

Eventually, I along with my running buddy and great friend Jesper Fuhlendorff, discovered the Tarawera Ultra and managed to enter the 60K on the waitlist. Other than a 6K Xterra in the Waiuku forest, the 60K was my first off road run! What an experience, it was like something spiritual. I was hooked!
60K in 2015
50k in 2015
82K in 2016 (was supposed to be 102K but I couldn’t make the cutoff)
42K in 2016
102K in 2017, running pretty much the whole distance with Jesper cheering me on and my wife Stacey pacing us both for the last 5K that was a lovely a highlight as Stacey has supported me from the outset and has even got involved as a Volunteer.

I ran the Waitomo 6k with my family on the weekend, there maybe a seven year old with a surname of Lake that ends up running the forests one day.

Richard Lake



I entered into the Xterra Rotorua as my first ever half marathon way back in 2006. “Not a bad thing running around the Blue and Green lakes” I thought! After a couple of years working out that distance, I completed my first marathon and it has escalated from there.

My first ever 100 km was the TUM100 and it just so happen to be the “2013 Fire Course” which made it for a long fun day.

Curiosity of the scenery and a chance to go for a swim at the finish line at Hot Water beach meant running the 50km and 42km, which then started to leave the thoughts of the full set of events to tick off. Running the TUM 60 with a good mate in the all-day rain followed in 2016, along with another chance to start an event at the Pohutu Geyser for the 50km again.

2017 was going to be the year for a lazy 87km but then a mate throws it out there that he wants to run a 100km, which makes 2017 another TUM 100! This time I get to complete the original course without the return over Okataina from the 2013 Fire Course!

This year I finally completed the 87km in all its glory (and mud) leaving only a 100miler to work on for next year!

Thanks Paul, Tim and all the team for bringing everything together for these wonderful events.

2013 100 km
2014 50 km
2015 42 km
2016 60 km
2016 50 km
2017 100 km
2018 87 km

Robert Rickerby



I didn’t really start running properly until about 5 years ago, I had done a couple of 10 km and half Marathons before hand but had not really committed to anything,
But saying that about 6 years ago I had said to my wife Lynette that my so called running days were over because everything was constantly sore; my legs, back etc, and they never seemed to improve.

I had decided to join a gym and then a boot camp up in Auckland. From their my Fitness and strength went up , being part of X10 was amazing and got me in shape.
From there I joined up with 808 house of training, OMG , This place took me to another level ( and still is )

A while later a couple of friends and I decided to tackle Oxfam , I loved it. I loved it so much I went back and did it again a year later.

Then my sister in law (Sharon ) gave me a ring one night and said we should do the Tarawera 60km ultra, hmmm , sounds good , OK
And then I asked her to tell me about it , Wow , sounded exciting

So we both signed up for it and started training, I decided to get help from James Kuegler.
I had never run any further than 21 km , I didn’t really know what I was getting myself in for.

I had trained my behind off for this and now it was race day
It was wet and muddy and it had been raining a lot the night before ,
I didn’t think it was that bad on the day but my wife and my supporters said it was bad
I had finished my first ultra , I couldn’t believe it , I swore I would never do it again

Yeah right

Within a day I was talking about doing the 100 km next year
Sure enough I had signed up for the 50km in November and the 100km in February

I finished the 50km and thought to myself holy shit , how the hell am I going to do the 100 km
But I did

The 100km wasn’t a good day for me everything that could go wrong went wrong
I was throwing up , I had hit the wall very early in the race ,
And with the support of Lynette and my pacer Abe I managed to finish it,

I was done with the ultra, never again

Within Two hours I was planning the next race

I had signed up for the 42km , my official first Marathon , and then the 87km

The 42km was a good run , still had a lot to work on but with the help of Abe Dyer, 808 house of training, who is training me I knew I could do it

The last distance of the 5
The 87km , another wet and muddy day , I had learned a lot over the last couple of years, and It was a bit slower than I wanted to do but it was a good day , felt good,

A special thanks to Abraham Dyer for pacing me for the 100 km and the 87 km
It meant a lot to me having you there

The Tarawera Ultra has been life changing for me , it has pushed me further than anything I had through I could do

I couldn’t have do this with the support of my amazing wife Lynette,
Thank you my sweetheart

2016-60 km
2016-50 km
2017-100 km
2117-42 km
2018-87 km

Who knows what lies ahead
Just need to keep pushing the boundaries as long as I can

To Paul , Tim , Sarah and the team
Keep up the amazing job, world class event with amazing volunteers

Laszlo Bokany



Running is a relatively new passion for me. I completed my first marathon, Auckland, in 2010. Five years later I did the Tarawera 50 being my first Ultra.

Over the last eight years I’ve completed 17 marathons, 5 ultra-marathons and one multi day stage race.

I think my love for running has come from being able to go out at any time, day or night, and forget about life for a while. It’s amazing how good it feels to not think about anything for an hour or 5 or 8… 😊

I love the people. I have met so many incredibly inspiring people who have encouraged me to chase and achieve goals I never thought possible.

I have had some amazing experiences in my running life but some of my favourites are the Tarawera Events. They are so special with beautiful scenery, are well organised and of course the buffet stations (oh I mean aid stations) are second to none. Rotorua holds a special place in my heart due to running the trails of TUM and the people connected to the event.

I bought a road sign in 2016 and knew I would have to fill it:
2015 – 50km
2016 – 87km 42km
2017 – 102km
2018 – 62km
Thank goodness the Miler wasn’t on it 😉

Anetta Hunt



In late 2012 a friend convinced me to enter the Tarawera 100km. At that stage I hadn’t even completed a marathon so little did I know what I had got myself into! As is turns out 2013 TUM was even tougher than normal as it was the year of the dreaded fire course and I missed the cut off at the 85km mark.  2014 once again nature got in the way with Cyclone Lusi, but the 72km was completed.  2015 I finally completed the 100km and made it to Kawarau, and what a life changing moment that was.

2015 was also the year the 50km was ticked off at the November event. 2016 I was part of a 4 person team in the TUM relay, which is totally recommended. Unfortunately the rest of 2016 things all went on hold due to a major injury that required surgery, which meant missing the 2017 TUM

By November 2017 I was back and the 42km was ticked off, followed by the last in the set, the 60km at Tarawera 2018

So in summary…

2013: 85km

2014: 72km (got a 100km medal though, no way that counts!)

2015: 100km and 50km

2016: ….

2017: 42km

2018: 60km

There’s just something so very special about the Tarawera events and it’s been so awesome to be part of the family and watch them grow from 2013 to where they are now.

So what’s next…..well there is some mention of the TUM miler and joining the 6x club….never say never!

Ryan Cooke