American champion trailite Sage Canaday from the USA, Brendan Davies of Australia, Japan’s Yoshikazu Hara and Brazilian runner Manual Lago are just a few of the international trail stars lining up as favourites in next year’s Tarawera Ultra, which is now only three months away.
With its new status as part the inaugural Ultra Running World Tour, Tarawera is set to cement itself as one of the bucket list races worldwide for both elites and weekend warriors alike.
For Tarawera Ultra Race Director, Paul Charteris, the World Tour status is an amazing opportunity for the Rotorua-based event, which “started as ‘crazy dream’ six years ago with a field of just 67 runners.”
In 2014 the numbers of entries will be close to 1000.
“Being invited to be part of the Tour is a real honour,” says Charteris. “As the Tarawera has grown we’ve attracted really quality fields and next year the very best international runners will be on the start-line.”
Sage Canaday (pictured right), who won the event in a blistering performance in 2013, reckons the Tarawera is worthy of a return Down Under.
“Paul Charteris really knows how to put on an amazing event, with a talented field of international runners,” says Sage. “His vision to grow the sport of ultra running both in New Zealand and on a world-wide scale is very inspiring to me and many others.”
Defending Kiwi honour in 2014 will be Vajin Armstrong and Marty Lukes. The standout runner in the women’s field is Napier’s Ruby Muir. She’s the defending Tarawera Ultra champion and recorded four wins in four countries in 2013.
Charteris says the Tour is all about bringing runners together in the spirit of friendship, adventure and competition. With less daunting 60 and 85km distances to choose from and family-friendly relay team options (where each runner tackles a half marathon) the Tarawera Ultra also appeals to a wide range of runners.
The other races on the Ultra World Tour are all successful, well-established events with long histories, big race fields and massive media interest. They include the Hong Kong 100k, Australia’s TNF 100 in the Blue Mountains, The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in the USA, the Marathon des Sables in Morocco, The North Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in France, Italy, and Switzerland, the Ultra-Trail Mont Fuji in Japan and Grand Raid on Reunion Island.
Being part of the Tour and with Eurosport TV coverage to over 100 million viewers across Europe and Asia guaranteed, the Tarawera Ultra will showcase Rotorua and New Zealand to a worldwide audience.
“A beautiful environment and superb athletes – it really is a recipe for a fabulous day of racing,” says Charteris.
“The international runners who have raced in the Tarawera Ultra have all loved being here. Our beautiful lakes and the forests, spa and geothermal features and Maori culture are a unique and seductive combination.”
For more information and online entry: www.taraweraultra.co.nz