“A race with 62km of the country's best lake and riverside singletrack.”
— Kerry Suter
Race - Feb 10, 2018
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Tarawera Forest is a commercially operated pine forest and access is prohibited prior to February. Given the extreme fire risks, no smoking is permitted in the Tarawera Forest.
From Okareka to Kawerau, the 62km race is 97% singletrack and enclosed forest roads. This is some of the best running in the region under the shadow of Mt Tarawera.
Need to Know
This is an accessible run with relaxed cut-offs (around 11:30min/km throughout). Runners typically need no mandatory equipment.
New Zealand has no bears, snakes, or dangerous creatures. Risks are typically environmental (cold) or self-inflicted (navigational). The track is well marked and runners are well catered for with abundant aid-stations.
Pacing "long course" runners is optional, free, and recommended. Check the race website for details.
Typically, the trails are dry and fast draining. Road shoes are normally sufficient for the 62km course.
The 62km course kicks-off from the end of Western Okataina Walkway on Millar Rd. There is a starters bus to the start from the Information Centre, Longmile Rd, Rotorua following the start of the 102 and 87km races.
The Western Okataina Walkway is around 16km of undulating singletrack through regenerating bush and patches of scrub on a long disused 4wd track now enclosed by various varieties of small fern, Blackberry and Gorse.
The trail splits around it's highest point, and runners must turn right to begin a long descent to Okataina Lake. This downhill is sharp in places and care should be taken as the trail is rough at times.
On the shorefront of Lake Okataina, runners will come to the third aid-station. Departing this, the lake's only boat ramp and car park, runners enter Eastern Okataina Walkway
which is a beautiful section of gently rolling singletrack benched along the lakes remote eastern edge. A short climb through a low saddle separates Okataina and Lake Tarawera. Descending this to meet Lake Tarawera, runners will find the Humphreys Bay aid-station, a basic aid-station for resupply in a remote spot serviced only by boat.
Here the trail continues along Lake Tarawera, heading inland briefly before emerging back out on the water's edge in a run along the lakefront to the Tarawera Outlet aid-station. Approximately 5km of downhill on beautiful singletrack links the Outlet to the Tarawera Falls
car park. This sequence of trail offering some of the most beautiful scenery of the day alongside the crystal clear headwaters of the Tarawera River and the spectacular Tarawera Falls
The Falls car park serves as the 62km mark and another aid-station before runners embark on the remaining 25km of exotic pine forest to the Kawerau finish line. The first 10km following Tarawera Falls
to Titoki is enclosed mature pine. With soft pine needles underfoot and a cool environment beneath the shade of the trees, this is excellent open running.
At Titoki, 62km runners will turn left to take in sections of the course added for the 2017 edition of the race. A 'dog leg' after Titoki aid station keeps athletes on the true-right of the Tarawera River and takes in some more narrow, enclosed forest road into a short piece of exotic pine singletrack and a river crossing on an aged foot bridge. Runners will then enjoy a few hundred meters of true river's edge running - and possibly some wet feet - before joining Mangawhio Rd and the 102km course just prior to the Fishermans Bridge aid station.
After Fishermans Bridge aid station, all runners continue on Mangawhio Rd, onto Cumins Rd before crossing the Tarawera River and joining River Rd for the final 8km run into Kawerau. After crossing "Pipe Bridge", a short sequence of grass track is completed to deliver runners to the finish line on Firman Field, Kawerau.