RUN247 / Race Previews / Tarawera Ultra-Trail by UTMB 2024: Start times, routes, how to follow and race previews

Tarawera Ultra-Trail by UTMB 2024: Start times, routes, how to follow and race previews

All you need to know about the New Zealand event which kicks off the 2024 UTMB World Series. 
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Race Guide

The Tarawera Ultra-Trail by UTMB is a collection of UTMB World Series trail running races in New Zealand.

Held in February of each year, the race is based in the town of Rotorua on New Zealand’s North Island, with the inaugural edition held in 2009.

Founded by Paul Charteris, Tarawera started out as a single distance ultramarathon, with just a few hundred athletes taking on 85 kilometres of spectacular trails throughout the Bay of Plenty.

Fast forward 15 editions, Tarawera has become a mainstay of the global ultra running calendar, attracting thousands of athletes each year from around the world to the two-day festival of trail running.

It’s now part of the UTMB World Series meaning it began to offer running stones to competitors in all four of its races, allowing them the chance to qualify for the UTMB World Series Finals at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc.

The 2024 edition of the Tarawera Ultra-Trail takes place on February 17-18, making it the de facto season opener for the 2024 UTMB World Series.

The 2024 event will welcome the largest number of starters in its history, with more than 4,500 expected to toe the line across one of four distances – 21km, 50km, 102km and 100 miles (165km).

Tarawera Ultra-Trail begins at 4:00am on Saturday 17 February for those taking part in the 100-mile race, with athletes given a total allowable time of 36 hours to complete the course.

All other distances also start on Saturday, with the 50km race underway at 6:00am, the 102km at 7:30am, and the 21km at 9.00am.

You can follow live tracking for all of them via UTMB’s race centre.

Tarawera Ultra-Trail by UTMB

start list

The full start lists for all four races can be found here.

Notable runners


The courses take runners on scenic and runnable trails through lush native bush and forest, the towering Whakarewarewa Forest, past multiple lakes, waterfalls, and geothermal activity, finishing at the Village Green by the lakeside in the heart of Rotorua.

The TMiler is the flagship 100-mile race. Starting at Te Puia in Rotorua, it takes runners throughout the geothermal surroundings of the region, with competitors crossing eight different lakes (which includes crossing Lake Rotomahana by boat), running along single-track paths surrounded by Redwoods and navigating around Mount Tarawera before returning to Rotorua at the Lakefront Reserve. It has a total elevation of 5470m.

The 102km event starts in an entirely different location, at Firmin Field in Kawerau – an hour east of Rotorua. From there runners must tackle 3089m of elevation as they first travel southwards to join the TMiler route North-East of Mount Tarawera, which they will then follow to the finish in Rotorua.

The T50 takes runners on a shorter journey around Rotorua, leaving Te Puia and taking runners southwards to Lake Rotokakahi and Lake Tikitapu before finishing in Rotorua once more. It has a total elevation of 1572m.

Finally, the point-to-point T21 is a 21km race with 734m of elevation. Starting with a loop around Lake Tikitapu, runners will then race to the finish in Rotorua.


Throughout the 15 editions of Tarawera, the 102km race has crowned some of trail running’s biggest stars from around the world, including Americans Courtney Dauwalter (2019), Dylan Bowman (2015 and 2018), Jim Walmsley (2017) and Camille Herron (2017), plus British runner Tom Evans (2020).

This year defending men’s champion Dan Jones is back to defend his title on home turf and he sounded in upbeat mood ahead of his return – as did his coach Robbie Britton when we spoke to him earlier this week. Britton told us: “I reckon Dan’s going to have a great race and then he’s going to be heading out to the States to train with [last weekend’s Black Canyon 100k winner] Hayden Hawks, who I also coach. They’re really good friends and complement each other really well in training.”

Jones said: “Success would be nailing my race plan as there’s so much that can happen in an ultra. I will go about working on the controllables, then the outcome will be what it will be.”

Up against him are the likes Justin Grunewald (USA), Robert Rorich (ZAF), Longfei Yan (CHN), Michael Dimuantes (AUS), Alessio Zambon (ITA), Matthew Healy (ZAF), and Admire Muzopambwa (ZWE).

In the women’s race one of the big favourites will be another Kiwi, 2021 winner Ruth Croft.

Since that race Croft has gone on to flourish on the world stage, winning Western States in 2022, a year after finishing second, and most recently winning the 100km at Ultra-Trail Cape Town in November – though she’s playing down expectations for this week slightly.

“I had a break after UTCT at the end of last year and have slowly been laying the foundation for the year ahead,” said Croft. “I’m not firing on all cylinders as it is still early, but the fitness is there.”

She says qualifying for UTMB in 2025 (as one of the top three females) is the priority and the likes of Australians Sarah Ludowici and Beth McKenzie, as well as New Zealand-based British runner Katie Wright, will be hoping they can cause an upset.

In the 100-miler the top-ranked athletes are American Adrian MacDonald and New Zealand-based South African Naomi Brand.

And both are looking forward to what they call the ‘runnable’ trails around Rotorua. MadDonald is a two-time Leadville 100 winner but had a disappointing time at UTMB last year when outside the top 30. He said: “I didn’t enjoy myself. It turns out that I love running, not hiking. So, I decided that for 2024 I wanted to focus on races that better align with my strengths and what I enjoy about ultra-trail running. The Tarawera Miler, with its rolling terrain, will be a great way for me to kick off 2024 before I tackle some big goals in the US in our summer.”

And Brand says: “Tarawera is the most competitive race in New Zealand as it draws international athletes,” she said. “I’m hoping I can run within myself and finish strong. It’s a fairly ‘runnable’ race, so a good opportunity to run for a good time – I’d love to improve on my 100 Miler PB.”

Both TMiler runner-ups in 2023 – Japanese pair Hajime Mamba, who was second to Zach Miller, and Kimino Miyazaki – return to the race looking to go one better.

Previous winners

The 100-mile TMiler was introduced in 2018 – note that the 2023 course was altered because of heavy rain.

TMiler Winners

Year Women Time Male Time 
2018 Sally McRae 21:11:10 Adrian Prigent 19:38:32
2019 Camille Herron 17:20:52 Jeff Browning 16:18:54
2020 Ailsa MacDonald 18:10:29 Vladimir Shatrov 15:53:30
2021 Katie Wright 20:19:19 Matt Urbanski 18:04:34
2023 Lucy Bartholomew 17:13:27 Zach Miller 14:41:41

T102 Winners

Year  Women  Time Men Time 
2010 Fleur Bromley 11:29:12 Kerry Suter 09:48:20
2011 Amy Campbell 11:36:35 Sam Wreford 08:33:50
2012 Nicola Gildersleeve  10:26:28 Mick Donges 08:51:08
2013 Ruby Muir 10:30:11 Sage Canaday 08:53:34
2014 Jo Johansen Sage Canaday
2015 Ruby Muir 09:02:42 Dylan Bowman 07:44:57
2016 Fiona Hayvice 10:34:26 Jonas Buud 08:00:53
2017 Camille Herron 08:56:00 Jim Walmsley 07:23:32
2018 Kelly Wolf 10:08:45 Dylan Bowman 08:27:41
2019 Courtney Dauwalter 09:28:03 Reece Edwards 08:22:51
2020 Manuela Soccol 09:39:49 Tom Evans 08:03:29
2021 Ruth Croft 09:21:03 Rhys Johnston 09:39:29
2023 Nancy Jiang 09:26:08 Dan Jones 7:27:55

Past winners

Claire Bannwarth

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Jonathan Turner
Written by
Jonathan Turner
Jonathan Turner is News Director for both TRI247 and RUN247, and is accustomed to big-name interviews, breaking news stories and providing unrivalled coverage for endurance sports.  
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