Fast and steady wins the race: Tarawera Ultramarathon on Saturday

This weekend the Ultra Trail World Tour comes to New Zealand. Below is the latest press release for the Tarawera Ultra.

“I’ll try to defend my title — but a lot of good runners from all over the world will be racing,” says
Colorado’s Sage Canaday, who on Saturday will line up as defending men’s champion in the Vibram
Tarawera Ultramarathon.

For the first time, the epic footrace from Rotorua to Kawerau will be part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour,
adding huge prestige to the stunning running through bush and lakeside.

That’s attracted numerous big names from the world of ultra running, and a total of 850 starters from 28 countries and all over New Zealand.

It looks likely to be a wet day, but race director Paul Charteris says the weather is unlikely to severely
impact the event

Photo: Sage Canaday on his way to winning the 2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon. (

Photo: Sage Canaday on his way to winning the 2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon.

While the later stages of the 100km course are different from last year, Canaday, 28, will write a range
of his 2013 time splits on his arm, and use that to gauge his long day of effort.

“I hope to run a more even race this year. Last year I started too fast and ended up doing some walking
in the last 20km. I think I could go under 8hrs 20min [a record] if I have a good race,” said the Hoka
One One, Ultimate Direction and Flora Health-sponsored athlete. He’s a 2hrs 16min road marathoner, so
has the pure leg speed to maximise the more open later stages, if there’s gas left in the tank.

Canaday picks US-based Kiwi Michael Aish, Vajin Armstrong (NZ), Brendan Davies (Australia), and Mike
Wardian (US) as amongst other men’s  frontrunners.

The elite women’s field of the Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon is also strong. Canaday’s girlfriend Sandi
Nypaver has only been running for a few years, after jumping from college basketball. But she won her
very first race — a hundred miler.

“I loved trail running immediately. It just felt right,” the 25-year-old says.

“I am so grateful to be here. For at least 10 years, New Zealand has been my dream place to go. My main
goal is to enjoy running in a beautiful place, wherever that takes me is fine.”

“It’s an honour just to be competing against these women — I know they all love it, there’s a quote I
really like: girls compete against each other but women empower each other.”

Amongst the elite women is Meghan Arbogast (US), a 52-year-old who won the Christchurch marathon
back in 2003, and in the early 1980s spent time living and studying in the South Island.

“I love New Zealand. When I saw Paul was putting on this race a couple of years ago, I thought, I’ve got
to get back,” said the four-time US Olympic trialist. “I would say if it’s a good weather day, a sub-10
hour [at Tarawera] would be reasonable.”

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A Backcountry Running Community for New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra runners- We want this to be the place you come for all things trail running including race previews and reports, interviews with New Zealand runners and hopefully a whole lot more! Our aim is to provide as much original content- previews/reports/interviews on New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra races. We can't be everywhere- so feel free to get in touch if you have the scoop on a race or event.

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