In between Twitter and Facebook I am able to get some sort of picture of how everything is going over in Tarawera.
Still FOMO’ing about missing out this year, but seeing as Cyclone Lusi is about and the Ultra course has been cut short, this one would probably not be ideal as a first one anyway.
Here is what Paul Charteris, VTUM creator and race director, had to say about the crucial changes…
We have had to make a very tough decision for the 2014.
The race can now no longer proceed past the Okataina Lodge Aid Station and has been shortened to two distances: 65km or 55km.
The race will still start at the same place and at the same location.
The 55km distance will run all the way to Okataina Lodge on the existing course, turn around and continue back to Okareka. The finish-line will be where the Okareka Aid Station is at Boyes Beach.
For the 65km run. Just past the watertank (about 5km in to the run), you will make a right-hand turn (instead of going left as you normally would have on race day) and will do a loop through the Whakarewarewa Forest before returning back to the start again.
The start now becomes an Aid Station.
You’ll then run from the start to the water tank again and continue along the existing course to Okataina Lodge and then return to finish at Okareka.
This new loop is mainly forestry roads –with a little bit of single track as you descend back into the redwoods.
2 and 4-person relays are still possible. The first relay leg will be the new loop in the forest that returns back to the start. Leg 2 is to Okarea, Leg 3 to Okataina and Leg 4 is back to Okareka.
Runners that entered the 60k can now choose to do either the 55 or 65km run.
Pacers are now allowed to run from Okataina back to Okareka.
For the 55km course – continue to follow your runners as per usual to Okataina. After Okataina, come back to Okareka.
Buses will continue to be at Okataina. This now makes the 1km walk from the Outdoor education Centre to the Western Okataina walkway an attractive option since you can now see runners going both ways.
For 65km runners, all of the above applies. The start-line now becomes an attractive viewing option since you’ll see the runners come back past you – twice.
In the end this was a critical safety decision. There were two main reasons for this.
1. The chances of safe rescue from either Lake Okataina or Lake Tarawera was minimal.
2. We did not any runners entering a forest (due to tree danger) after 6pm since the danger of either tree or branch fall was significantly increased.
– Race Director.
Tough call, but better to be safe than sorry.
Follow @IRunFar on Twitter for up to the minute updates.
Stay tuned for more news 🙂