As a sports reporter I cover a lot of amazing sports events, but every year the Tarawera Ultramarathon is one of the best.

At the weekend I covered the event for the second time and in no way has the novelty worn off. But, what makes it so special?

To me, it is the atmosphere at the finish line. This year runners and walkers from all over the world, completing 20km, 50km, 102km or 100 mile options, finished inside the Energy Events Centre.

The vibe inside the foyer of the Events Centre was spectacular and at times emotional. There is something about watching people from all walks of life smash their goals and achieve their dreams that brings a tear to the eye.


Whether it be the every day mums and dads, who have trained for months to walk or run the 20km and are embraced by proud family members as they cross the line, or the elite 102km and 100 mile athletes who have maintained a pace which would be a sprint for many people and collapsed over the line, or all the people in between. It is truly special to witness.

There are MCs who spent hours throughout the weekend welcoming people home by name over a loud speaker, giving little insights into their backgrounds from the extensive database they have compiled.

Everyone has a story. The man who has entered five times, been undone by injury every year, but is finally crossing that finish line. Those walking or running in memory of a deceased love one. Even this year's 102km winner Reece Edwards, who had never competed in a trail event before, is a remarkable story.

Making this year's event even more enjoyable for myself was knowing my mum and aunty were entered in the 50km - my aunty running and my mum walking. Both had their own struggles throughout, but made it across the line, grinning from ear-to-ear.

My mum has five children and I'm sure she won't mind me saying that when I was growing up she had a fairly unhealthy lifestyle.

She started walking in an attempt to lose weight and 10 years ago won free entry into the London Marathon - a spot prize after walking the 10km at the Wellington marathon that year.

In that situation, I think I would've decided I can't run a marathon and given it to someone else. But not my mum. She thought "well, I better learn how to run". She started with "Couch to 5km" programme and slowly worked her way up to being able to run a full marathon, which she did in London.

She caught the bug and is hooked on running. While training did not go to plan for running the 50km at the Tarawera Ultramarathon, she decided to still take it on as a walk and finished well within her goal time.


Knowing how far she has come and seeing her cross that finish line was special, she is a constant reminder that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.

I have no doubt that there were thousands of people at the Energy Events Centre at the weekend who shared those same emotions as they cheered family members and friends across the finish line.