Entries had to be closed early last month for the event, the second stop on the Ultra World Tour. Places for the event sold out in record time with a record number of international competitors for any running event held in New Zealand.
The full race is a 100-kilometre trail run from Rotorua to Kawerau and the international contingent represents 40 percent of the field. There are 1008 runners participating in the 100km, 85km and 60km events from 39 different countries.
Event organiser Paul Charteris said the level of international interest for 2016 highlights the high level of recognition for the unique event and how much ultra running is growing as a sport.
“The level of international interest has been truly phenomenal this year, with 40 percent of the field coming from overseas – a crazy stat for any big-end New Zealand event.
“It’s taken a good eight years to get there, but the event is now known by nearly every ultramarathon runner throughout the world and it’s on the bucket list for many due to its truly spectacular and unique nature.
“We also have a huge elite field this year with the current 100km marathon world champion Jonas Buud from Sweden.
“The top runners for 2016 are from all over the globe – North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
“The Tarawera Ultramarathon is the largest ultra trail run ever run in New Zealand.
“There are over 600 competitors doing the 100km event alone this year, the greatest number yet, representing just how far the endurance sport has come.”
There are eight Eastern Bay runners in the 100km race with a further three tackling the 80km event and one Eastern Bay runner in the 60km event.
With 210 runners crossing the ditch from Australia, 43 are competing from the United States and 21 from Hong Kong, New Caledonia, France, China, the United Kingdom and Japan are also well represented in the field.
Source: The Beacon