For most, running one distance of the Tarawera Ultramarathon is challenge enough.
But Rotorua's Chris Townley isn't most people. So when a friend "tongue in cheek" suggested he do all three distances, Mr Townley decided to take it as a challenge and see if he could.

He's never officially taken part in the event before, but as of 2am this morning he's started an attempt to run the 60km, 85km and 100km distances, one after another.

He began at the official start line in the Redwoods - running to the 60km finish line at Tarawera Falls before getting a ride to the 85km finish line in Kawerau and running the course in reverse.

All going according to plan, Mr Townley should be back in Rotorua and "hopefully get a couple of hours' sleep" before joining the 1000-odd others at the start line to take part in the 100km race when it officially starts at 6am tomorrow morning.

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It will see him clock up 245km over the two days.

"A bit tongue in cheek someone said why don't you try and do it all and I though it could be a go-er," he said.

His previous longest distance run is 150km.

Mr Townley said there was "a bit of uncertainty" getting the logistics sorted. Because there will be no aid stations for the first two legs he's completing solo, Mr Townley will be putting out buckets of food beforehand to keep him going. "They'll be chocka of food and some warm clothes."

He'll also be having mates run with him along the way.

"It's just a mental game."

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So how does he plan to keep going?

"Singing songs to myself, talking bullsh*t. Once you start thinking about how sore your body is it is pretty much game over."

As for getting three medals - Mr Townley said that's not what it was about. "It's seeing where my limits are."