World’s best ultrarunners descend on New Zealand for Tarawera Ultramarathon

A star-studded lineup of the best ultrarunners in the world will descend on Rotorua in February 2019 for the 11th edition of the Tarawera Ultramarathon, for what’s set to be the best ultramarathon lineup the southern hemisphere has ever seen.

Come February, Rotorua will become the world’s epicentre of trail running, with the best athletes on Earth lining up to take on the challenge and tackle the Rotorua trails.

With ten years of history, the Tarawera Ultramarathon is a much loved, globally known set of races in the New Zealand trail running calendar, attracting some of the most incredible runners in the world, tackling the different distances.

February’s event sees a change in distances through the Rotorua forests and bush with four distances for athletes to compete in; 20km, 50km, 102km and the 100 mile race being run for a second year after a successful launch in 2018.

With entries opening in September, slightly later than usual, the event attracted as many entrants in 24 hours as were received in 3 months for the 2018 event, a testament to the prestige and explosive growth of the race.

The attraction of the unique geothermal landscape of New Zealand, the friendly warm welcome in Rotorua from Kiwi athletes and locals has seen an unprecedented number of the top athletes lining up to compete, with some of the best runners in the world preparing to race Tarawera.

In the front of the pack, it’ll be a who’s who of the best elite ultrarunners on Earth, and all eyes will be on Rotorua to see who takes home the top spots.

Following their footsteps, thousands of runners will take on the biggest challenge of their lives, achieving what they once thought impossible. Whatever their place in the ranking, Tarawera is set to be the race of a lifetime for everyone involved.

Who’s coming

In the 100 mile race Camille Herron (USA), the current world record holder for the 100 mile distance and new world record holder for distance over 24 hours, is confirmed to make a return to Tarawera to take on this distance. Already the female record holder for the Tarawera 102km course Camille’s sure to set a blistering pace for the front of the pack. From New Zealand our own Fiona Hayvice from Wellington hopes to keep her honest. Fiona is a great athlete with some awesome successes under her belt at the renowned Western States Endurance Run in the US, winning the 100km at Tarawera in 2016 and helping the NZ women win a bronze 2 weeks ago in the 24 hour endurance run at the Soochow International Ultramarathon IAU Championships in Taiwan.

The men’s 100 mile race is also attracting the best of the world’s running talent with the announcement that Jeff Browning (USA) is heading over to compete in New Zealand for the first time. Jeff won the Hardrock Hundred Endurance Run this year, one of the toughest 100 mile races in the world. Up against Jeff are the likes of Zac Marion (USA) another talented up and coming runner who’s already taken 3 wins around the world this year. Grant Guise of New Zealand lines up too for the 100 mile race – a well known elite runner around the world, Grant’s back to challenge all comers on NZ soil.

The 102km race is a fiercely competitive race with a gallery of elite athletes from all over the world preparing to toe the line come February. Courtney Dauwalter(USA) is arguably the best female ultra runner in the world and potentially the best ultra runner full stop. Courtney is coming off the back of winning a slew of the hardest races in the world this year including a first place in the women’s race at Western States, winning the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji 100 and in 2017 winning the Moab 240 Mile Endurance Run outright! This is the first time Courtney will compete in New Zealand.

Up against Courtney is a deep and talented field including Tarawera champion Sally McRae (USA), Meghan Laws (USA), our own Cecilia Flori (New Zealand), Alana Vought and Jess Carroll (Australia), Amanda Basham and Devon Yanko (USA) and many, many more excellent athletes.

The men’s race similarly has a depth in the elite international field with the outstanding Tim Freriks (USA) leading the charge – Tim’s performances are impressive with multiple wins at races around the world. Joining Tim are his training partner (and last year’s Tarawera runner-up) Cody Reed (USA), Harry Jones (UK), Benoit Girondel (France), Sange Sherpa (Nepal), Prodigal Khumalo (South Africa), David Byrne and Andrew Lee (Australia) and Marek Causidis (Czech Republic) all preparing to do battle to see who comes out on top in this truly global competition.

Tarawera isn’t just about the elites. The race is firmly fixed in the minds of all Kiwi trail runners and close to 2000 athletes are expected in the city over race week. Elites rub shoulders with regular runners focused on their own personal challenge in a relaxed, celebratory atmosphere.

Paul Charteris, race organiser:

“In 2018 we achieved our dream after 10 years of adding the 100 mile distance to the Tarawera event that was as good as anything being run around the world. The response we’ve had from athletes has been overwhelming leading to the strongest field lining up in any running competition in New Zealand history. We are proud to be a part of that and look forward to welcoming athletes from all over the world and the country to immerse themselves in our culture and landscapes in Rotorua.’

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