Tarawera Ultra proudly supported by Te Puia

Some of the world’s most inspiring ultramarathon athletes gathered at Te Aronui a Rua Marae at Te Puia on 10 February for the official race powhiri (welcome) ahead of the Tarawera Ultramarathon.


Now in its ninth year, the Tarawera Ultramarathon has become a bucket list run for athletes around the world, with over 50 per cent of the field from overseas, representing 45 countries including USA, UK, China, Lithuania, Brazil, Sweden and Australia.


Event organiser Paul Charteris said it was an honour for the event to be welcomed onto such a magnificent and sacred site.


The Ultra took place on 11 February, with 1400 athletes toeing the start line at the Redwoods Forest during the early hours of the morning. Athletes were treated to a spectacular send off by the Te Puia Mauri Oho kapa haka group, who presented a spine tingling performance to bid participants farewell and good luck.


“Our priority is offering the runners a warm and traditional Māori welcome – in the same way that our Te Arawa people have been welcoming manuhiri (visitors) to the Valley for more than 200 years,” says general manager sales and marketing, Kiri Atkinson-Crean.


“Our experience with the event has shown us that the athletes wholly embrace their surrounding cultural and physical environment, including our culture, craft and people.”


Athletes journeyed through some of the Bay of Plenty’s best kept secrets from Rotorua to Kawerau. Along the way, athletes captured views of four lakes, as well as breath-taking waterfalls and crystal-clear streams.


The event featured 102km, 87km and 62km solo distances, as well as a two or four person 87km relay.