Participants and supporters involved in the 2019 Tarawera Ultramarathon will get even more out of the experience next year, with the signature ultra events – the 102km and 100-miler – capping a new five-day festival of events.
The Tarawera Ultramarathon week will be held from February 6-10, 2019, with a new 20km trail run on the Friday, a new 50km event on the Saturday, a two-day expo, as well as the two long distance events which will both take place on Saturday, February 9.
Rotorua's Energy Events Centre will be the "home base" for the events next year, as well as hosting the expo, 100-miler start line, and the finish lines for all races.
As well as the running events, the festival will include seminars, a "Thank God I'm not Running" party, live music at the finish line on the Saturday and more.
Event organiser Paul Charteris said the changes represented the biggest overhaul of the event in 10 years.
"The Tarawera Ultramarathon holds a special place in the hearts of athletes and supporters alike around New Zealand – and around the world.
"Last year we made two significant changes, introducing the inaugural 100-miler and reversing the direction of all of the associated running events to finish in front of the Rotorua Museum in Government Gardens.
"These changes were received extremely positively by everyone involved, so we wanted to take a fresh look at the race week calendar in order to keep evolving and improving the events – and the ultra experience," Charteris said.
As part of the process, the team made the "difficult" decision to remove the 62km and 87km individual and relay races from the 2019 event.
"We know this may come as a surprise and disappointment to some, however we wanted to introduce the new 50km and 20km events to ensure our events are accessible to as many people as possible.
"The original programme would have meant nine different races under way across a vast area. As a result, we wouldn't be able to give each distance and runners the love and respect they deserve, and we are not prepared to compromise on these critical aspects of our events – or health and safety.
"Ultimately, we will have an expanded suite of events in terms of distances, days and locations, and we can be fully committed to ensuring the quality and experience of each event, for every person."
Charteris said, with Wednesday, February 6, being Waitangi Day and therefore a statutory holiday, people have the opportunity to have a decent break in Rotorua, experience everything the region has to offer, and make the most of the Tarawera Ultramarathon festival week.
At this stage, entries for the full programme of events will open online on September 1.
More information is available at facebook.com/taraweraultra/