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Rotorua ultramarathon boasts world's best

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/01/2017
The 102km run from Rotorua to Kawerau on February 11 is regarded as one of the world's 20 most prestigious ultra-running races. © Facebook / Tarawera Ultramarathon The 102km run from Rotorua to Kawerau on February 11 is regarded as one of the world's 20 most prestigious ultra-running races.

More than 1000 ultramarathon runners from 42 countries, including many of the world's best competitors, are set to take to the start line of the Tarawera Ultra race next month.

The 102km run from Rotorua to Kawerau on February 11 is regarded as one of the world's 20 most prestigious ultra-running races.

Heading the field this year is Sweden's 2015 100km world champion Jonas Buud, who says it is an advantage to be the defending champion after winning last year's race.

"I know the course and I know how the event is run," he said.

"I'm planning on racing in the same way as last year, spending several days in New Zealand beforehand to acclimatise from the current -20C climate in Sweden."

Event organiser Paul Charteris said this year's field with close to 30 of the world's most elite ultra-runners was the best yet.

This included the current Ultra-Trail World Tour world No.1 Gediminas Grinius from Lithuania and 2016 UltraRunner of the Year Jim Walmsley from the US.

"This is the third year that the Tarawera Ultra has been on the Ultra-Trail World Tour, and it's really starting to show with a 52 per cent international field," Charteris said.

Yet the event is not just for elite athletes.

"It's also the crazy everyday runners who make a holiday out of their ultramarathon ambitions," he said.

"They're the ones that make our event so special."

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