After being welcomed to the race by director, Paul Charteris, we set off amongst the redwood forest. The starting point for the Tarawera Ultra is Rotorua, one of the most famous towns on the north island of New Zealand known for its thermal hot springs, boiling mud pools, geysers and maori culture. A place not to be missed!
The great thing about this race is that it appeals to lots of different runners; there's a 60km, 80km and a 100 km - you can opt to do any of these as part of a team or run it solo. As daylight breaks, we pass by the beautiful Lake Tikitapu (Blue Lake). If you're planning on being in New Zealand in March of 2011, then put this race on your calendar!
I loved the first 60 km of running through the New Zealand bush. I didn't get many photographs and missed capturing how beautiful it is so you'll have to take my word for it.
Whenever I go over to visit, my Dad ends up driving me all over the country so that I can race. The last race I did in NZ was another point to point but was a mountain race so there were no spectators. The nice thing about the Tarawera Ultra is that crew and spectators can drive down to the aid stations to watch. My Dad drove his car down bumpy, dusty forestry roads into what seemed like the middle of nowhere, just so that he could check that I was still doing okay. He did this all day long and then waited for me in the dark to cross the finishing line! Seeing his face as I crossed the line was something I'll never forget! Huge thanks to Paul and the volunteers to making this race such a success!