Finishers of all five Tarawera distances
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!
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!)
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.
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.
2016 87 and 42
2015 100 and 5
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.
2013 85km (The fire course horror!)
2014 74km (My first 100km was going to be a dead cert – curse that Cyclone Lusi!)
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!!!)
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.