Wait­omo gets trail run

Hamilton Metro News - - Front Page -

With a course that takes walk­ers and run­ners past glow­worms and karst land­scapes, through tun­nels and na­tive bush, the newly launched Wait­omo Trail Run is the lat­est must-do event on the trail run­ning calendar.

The in­au­gu­ral Wait­omo Trail Run will take place on April 30 with 6, 11, 22 and 33km op­tions, of­fer­ing a year op­por­tu­nity to dis­cover the hid­den Wait­omo.

The long­est dis­tance event starts at Man­gapo­hue Nat­u­ral Bridge and all events fin­ish at the Wait­omo Glow­worm Visi­tors Cen­tre. The route passes though Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion re­serves, as well as pri­vate land which can only be ac­cessed on race day.

The 6 and 11km op­tions have a sub­ter­ranean start-line among a ta­pes­try of sta­lac­tites and lime­stone for­ma­tions as run­ners and walk­ers line up inside the Ruakuri Cave. The ad­ven­ture con­tin­ues up a spec­tac­u­lar un­der­ground spi­ral stair­case be­fore emerg­ing into day­light.

Race or­gan­iser Paul Char­teris says the run of­fers ath­letes of all lev­els a chance to tra­verse the most unique ge­o­log­i­cal line in New Zealand – and maybe the world.

“This is a com­pletely unique event, tak­ing par­tic­i­pants both over and un­der­ground through an in­cred­i­ble com­bi­na­tion of karst land­scapes, tun­nels, beau­ti­ful gorges, cliffs and for­est and sheep farms.

“Glow­worms will also light the way as you run or walk through tun­nels in the world­fa­mous Wait­omo Dis­trict.

“The Wait­omo Trail Run of­fers a unique and first hand ex­pe­ri­ence of ev­ery­thing that makes New Zealand truly amaz­ing. Visi­tors come here from all over the world to see these nat­u­ral won­ders, and its all right here in our back yard.

“This is a chance to dis­cover the hid­den Wait­omo – the places the pub­lic does not nor­mally get to ex­plore. We can’t wait to show peo­ple this amaz­ing race.”

Paul says the range of dis­tances avail­able make it ac­ces­si­ble to ev­ery­one.

“Both the 22km and 33km cour­ses in­clude ad­di­tional ad­ven­ture op­tions, giv­ing run­ners and walk­ers the choice of ex­plor­ing hid­den canyons, rocky ridge­lines and squeez­ing through holes in the rocks.

“This event is not just for hard­core run­ners, we wel­come fam­i­lies and peo­ple who just want to get out and ex­pe­ri­ence a bit of an ad­ven­ture.”

Paul says the caves are a spe­cial and mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence, and he en­cour­ages fam­i­lies to stay an ex­tra day to tour the glow­worm caves not in­cluded in this event.

“Or for the truly ad­ven­tur­ous, they might want to plunge un­der­ground in the world fa­mous black­wa­ter raft­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Gor­don Hew­ston of Wait­omo Glow­worm Caves says the team is re­ally pleased to be able to as­sist in bring­ing this event to life.

“Wait­omo’s se­lec­tion as the lo­ca­tion for this new trail run prod­uct is a cel­e­bra­tion of the unique land­scape that we lucky enough to en­joy here ev­ery day.

“There’s nowhere else like it, and we look for­ward to shar­ing it with run­ning en­thu­si­asts and their sup­port­ers! They’re in for

an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence.”

PHOTO / KURT MATTHEWS PHO­TOG­RA­PHY HTW170316SP11

THEWait­omo Trail Run takes in the spec­tac­u­lar Ruakuri Cave.

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