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Ultramarathon fun run through geothermal valley

Ultramarathon fun run through geothermal valley


For the first time in the history of the Tarawera Ultramarathon, runners will have the opportunity to run through Te Puia and Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, and past the world-famous Pohutu Geyser, as part of the annual free fun run that leads up to the main event.

The fun run (to be held on Thursday March 13) is an Ultramarathon tradition, but this is the first time entrants will be able to run through Te Puia. The eight kilometre easy trail run is free and open to all runners, friends and whānau and is a chance to run with some of the most famous trail runners in the world.

Te Puia Chief Executive Officer Tim Cossar says the visitor attraction is thrilled to be involved in the Tarawera Ultramarathon, which is one of only 10 iconic ultra-races included in the Ultra-trail World Tour.

“The Tarawera Ultramarathon has attracted nearly 900 entries from 28 countries around the world and New Zealand. Through the run we can showcase our unique and beautiful landscape and help celebrate entrants’ achievements in the lead up to the main event.

“I would encourage entrants and supporters to bring a camera - this is a unique opportunity to experience some amazing trails and geothermal activity.”

Entrants will run on a single one-way track along the ponga-lined Puarenga Stream track, under towering Firs and Redwoods, through meadows, the Hemo Gorge track and into Te Puia, where runners will see geysers, steam vents, hot lakes and bubbling mud pools in Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

Te Puia spans 70 hectares within the historic valley. As well as the geothermal activity, it is also home to two kiwi and the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute’s national carving and weaving schools.

“Te Puia has shared these taonga (treasures) with manuhiri (visitors) for 170 years and we proudly continue that legacy this week with a global community of runners taking part in the fun run,” says Mr Cossar.

Runners assemble at the Holiday Inn (10 Tyron Street, Rotorua) at 5:15pm on Thursday, with a free bus departing at 5:30pm to take entrants to the starting point.

Te Puia will also host the official Tarawera Ultramarathon race welcome on Friday March 14 in Te Aronui-a-Rua Wharenui (meeting house) on Rotowhio Marae, with formalities including the taking of the official 2014 race photograph.

The Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon is a 100, 85 or 60 kilometre trail ultra-distance run from Rotorua to Kawerau, New Zealand. It is held on Saturday March 15.

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