From small beginnings, the Tarawera Ultramarathon has rapidly evolved into a massive international event.

It's now bringing millions of dollars into the local economy, giving Rotorua and the district valuable media coverage overseas and providing an opportunity for people to push their bodies, minds and spirits to the limit.

This year there are a couple of exciting changes. One being the addition of the 100 miler race. One-hundred kilometres is mind-boggling enough to the average Joe, 100 miles (160.9km) even more so. But it's proven extremely popular for entrants in search of a new challenge.

Read more: 1350 athletes to take on Tarawera Ultramarathon
Rotorua's Dennis Rollings set for Tarawera 100 miler


The second change is the runners will now finish at the Government Gardens, instead of in Kawerau as in previous years. And that's exciting, because it means more of us can get involved, embracing the event itself and the amazing athletes that complete this challenge.

Over the past couple of days we have highlighted a couple of locals taking part.

Dennis Rollings runs as it helps him cope with everyday stresses, including caring for his beloved wife, Wendy, who has Alzheimer's. Tomorrow he will tackle 100 miles.

Marama Christie couldn't run to her letterbox four years ago. Tomorrow she will run 62km.

And at the start line there will be hundreds more stories of inspiration just like theirs.

The elite athletes are undeniably incredible. They will seemingly cruise around the course and finish looking like it was a jog in the park.

But it's the everyday folk who impress me the most. The ones for whom the idea of running an ultramarathon must have once seemed just a pipe dream yet, through sheer determination and strength of will, they have got to this point. They are proof nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

They all deserve our support, Rotorua. So why not head out around the course or head down to the finish at the Government Gardens tomorrow to cheer them on?

Who knows, you may just get inspired.