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Small town fueling the Tarawera Ultramarathon


Fresh fruit, slice, lollies and pretzels all on offer at an aid station of the Tarawera Ultra Marathon
Food banquet at the Tarawera Ultra. Credit: Matt Trappe

It’s gained a reputation as New Zealand’s most prestigious ultramarathon but the secret is finally out – the Tarawera Ultra is the ultimate party food banquet and it has some impressive figures to back it up.

On 11 February, 1400 athletes will toe the start line for the Tarawera Ultra, ready to cover a combined total of 103,000 kilometers, the equivalent of running around the earth two and a half times.

The massive distance means around 6.4 million calories will be burned on race day, requiring a significant amount of nutrition to complete the race.

Event organiser Paul Charteris says doing the food shop is a massive undertaking, and is enough to fill a reasonable sized truck.

“Spread across the 11 aid stations from Rotorua to Kawerau, there will be hundreds of litres of Tailwind sports drink, 33 jars of Pic’s peanut butter, 50kg of fresh fruit, 35kg of lollies, 200 bottles of Bundaberg ginger beer, 400 litres of coca cola and 240 bags of potato chips – and that’s just the beginning.

“The gastronomic delights at the Tarawera Ultra are a combination of Masterchef meets kids party,” says Mr Charteris.

“Sourcing our food locally is important to us, which is why we source the food from Kawerau New World – we love to involve the Kawerau community as much as possible with the Tarawera Ultra.

“All distances will be finishing at Firmin field in Kawerau, so it’s also important we have a supermarket near the finish line so we don’t get caught short.

“If it’s a hot day, runners could easily consume a hundred more watermelons than we allowed for, or burn through an extra hundred litres of coca cola.

“This year, for the first time, we won’t be using cups to serve drinks. All runners are required to bring a re-usable cup – saving the race 14,000 cups which cannot be recycled.”
Fresh fruit, and other delicious foods on offer at the aid stations of the Tarawera Ultra Marathon
Masterchef meets kids party at the Tarawera Ultra. Credit: Matt Trappe

The Tarawera Ultramarathon features 102km, 87km and 62km solo distances, as well as a two or four person 87km relay.

Athletes will journey through some of the Bay of Plenty’s best kept secrets. Along the way, athletes capture views of four lakes, as well as breath-taking waterfalls and crystal-clear streams.

Now in its ninth year, the Tarawera Ultramarathon has become a bucket list run for athletes across the world, with over 50 per cent of the field from overseas, representing 45 countries.

The event is also part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, a series of the most prestigious ultra-running races in the world.


Big Thanks to Julie Fiddes, Media Contact for the Tarawera Ultra Marathon, for providing this release