Winners rave about beauty of Tarawera Ultra race
Everyone knew about Jim Walmsley’s incredible speed right off the mark, but with an average pace of 4 minute 20 second kilometres in the 102km race, the 2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon winner blew everyone – and the record – away
Finishing in a time of 07:23:32 and slashing 21 minutes off the previous record, the American said he made the most of the knowledge other runners would just let him go with his fast start strategy.
“But it was a hard way to run that race and I was alone most of the way,” said Walmsley.
“It was extremely hot, but beautiful out there. I really soaked it all in. I’m from the desert in Arizona so this is completely different from home. There were cicadas chirping all day, the tree canopy is so green out there, I wish I’d dunked in some rivers.
In the women’s 102km race, Camille Herron (USA) took the finish line honours, and also broke the Tarawera Ultramarathon women’s record by more than six minutes in the process, coming through in 08:56:01.
Herron says the 102km event was simply a “wonderful day”.
“I really enjoyed the beauty of it all. The course had lots of technical sections which were extremely ‘runnable’, as well as lots of ups and downs which really played to my strengths as a runner.”
The Tarawera Ultramarathon course runs through places of cultural significance to local Māori, and allows runners to challenge themselves on some of the most beautiful trails in the world. The course begins in Rotorua with a Māori powhiri and takes runners through lush forest, past steaming hotpools and sparkling lakes, ending in Kawerau.