This weekend, XTERRA heads to Rotorua, New Zealand for the XTERRA Rotorua Trail Run 5.5/11/21K, at Blue Lake. The day promises to be a festival of trail running and mountain biking on beautiful and beginner-friendly courses.
Rotorua is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and you will find evidence of volcanoes everywhere you look from the rocks to natural geysers and geothermal vents. The city is also the cultural home of the Te Arawa people, who settled in its lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago.
“XTERAA Rotorua has something for everyone,” said race director Mike Thomason. “Whether you want to walk and enjoy the beautiful forests or try for a PR, you will have a great day at Rotorua.” He adds that the trail run takes place the day after the XTERRA New Zealand off-road triathlon, which brings some of the best athletes to the region.
The following day, XTERRA heads south to Wellington for the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run on April 9th. The event - one of five XTERRA Trail runs in Wellington - is held in Rimutaka Forest Park, which is a huge natural area filled with native plans and birds like kiwis, tui, kaka, and ruru as well as deer and goats, despite the fact that it’s close to the city. The compact city of Wellington, close to both the harbor and the hills, is ideal for exploring cafes, museums, and shops.
“The running is pretty technical in places and calls for a high degree of skill if you want to keep moving quickly,” said Thomason. “There is no vehicle access over much of the course so if you get injured, it's a helicopter for you. That's how we roll in New Zealand.”
The Long Course 21K can be broken down into four stages. The first 5K is a mix of technical and open running with a few, short climbs. The second 5K continues climbing into the forest with a gorgeous view out over the ocean on the South Island. The third 5K is great bush running, technical and fast in places, with a trick y descent. The final 5K is wide open on hard-packed trail that heads downhill. If you have anything left, this is a great place to gun it.
“XTERRA Wellington is the spiritual home of New Zealand,” said Thomason. “We ran our first ever event here. It’s just so beautiful. You get dense, thick bush, fantastic ridgelines, and some technical sections that challenge the most accomplished trail runners. Everyone comes back a little bit bruised, dirty, and tired, but with a huge smile on their face.”
You can learn more about the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run Series here. Or, contact Mike at xterrawellington [at] splashanddash.co.nz.