The brand new 50km Love My Sport Catchment Ultra starts at 6:30am on the corner of Nae Nae Road and Kopikopiko Road in the northern Wairarapa. Participants in the Ultra will be transported by bus from Race HQ (Ferry Reserve, Ballance) to the start of their event.
The 50km course is off-road and is run on a range of surfaces. Participants start off on an easy-going 3km gravel section along Nae Nae road, allowing the field to spread out. After crossing a stream (about ankle to calf deep), the next 600m is mainly on farmland, which can be very muddy and will no doubt be a mudfest in winter. Following the valley going up the mountain, the next 400m runs up the creek, zig-zagging through the stream. It is a beautiful little gorge with numerous wee waterfalls, ferns and native forest. And then the big climb starts. For the next kilometre or so, you scramble up along a rough track to the top of the mountain. This section is technical and steep – just the thing to kick your heart and lungs into action early on!
Once you reach the Otangane loop, you turn left to follow the loop track clockwise. This is an undulating stretch on top of the Tararuas with lovely views in all directions in the clearings. If you feel up to a couple of minutes detour, you could even make your way up Nipple Peak for a 360 degree view of the Manawatu and Wairarapa. After about 3km, you reach the connection track that takes you through to the Toe Toe loop track. Following the Toe Toe loop anti-clockwise for roughly 1.8km, you reach a side-track that links up with South Range Road. This marks the end of the most difficult and challenging section of the Ultra course, with the remainder of the course from here being run on an undulating gravel road.
Running on top of the Tararuas next to the water catchment area on the undulating South Range Road and then through the windfarm on North Range Road (following the same route as the Tilt Renewables North Range Traverse for the last 25km), makes for a beautifully scenic run. The stunning vistas and easy terrain underfoot for most of the way, should add up to a very enjoyable Ultramarathon. Once you reach the woolshed on Hall Block Road, it is only another 5.5km of steep descent to the bottom of Hall Block Road, from where a short stretch along Gorge Road takes you back to the finish at the Ferry Reserve. Relax and grab some sustenance while you wait for the afternoon prize giving.
With South Range Road normally closed to public access, this event provides participants with a unique opportunity to run along this scenic route on the edge of the water catchment area.
Relay option: Participants have the option to enter the Love My Sport Catchment Ultra 50km as a two-person relay team, with each team member doing 25km. The first team member will do the ‘South Range leg’, going from Nae Nae Road, via South Range Road to the relay change-over point at Pahiatua Track. The second team member will do the ‘North Range leg’, covering the North Range Traverse route, from the Pahiatua Track to the finish at Ferry Reserve, Ballance. The first member of the relay team will have the option to make use of the free bus service to the event start at Nae Nae Road (provided the team pre-entered by Sunday 20 August 2017). However, relay teams need to arrange their own transport to and from the Pahiatua Track change-over point at the start of North Range Road.
Aid stations: Five aid stations serving water and energy drinks will be located at approximately 11km, 20km, 28.5km, 36km and 44km. However, the aid stations should not be relied upon as your sole source of hydration and nutrition.
Catchment Ultra participants will also have the opportunity to leave aid-station drop bags (with dry shoes & socks etc) at Friday night registration, which can be transported to either the first aid station (11km in, after the potentially wet and muddy initial section of the Ultra) or the 4th aid station (approx 35km in, after the muddy 4wd section on North Range Road). Make sure that you clearly mark/tag your bag with your name and the aid station you want it delivered to. For out-of-towners who cannot hand in their aid station drop bags at the Friday registration, note that only drop-bags going to the 4th aid station can be accommodated on race day.
Cut-off times: The cut-off time for the event is 3pm, giving participants in the Love My Sport Catchment Ultra 8.5 hours to finish the race. Participants who have not reached the 25km point at the Pahiatua Track after 5 hours (by 11:30am) will not be allowed to continue with the second half of the race.
Online entries are now open. Click here to enter. (Please make sure to have both team members’ details ready when entering a relay team.)
Standard entries (up to Sunday, 20 August 2017)
– Solo option = $85.00 / person
– Team relay = $90.00 / two-person team
Late entries (cash only – available at registration)
– Solo option = $90.00 / person
– Team relay = $100.00 / two-person team
Entries into the Love My Sport Catchment Ultra up to Sunday 20 August 2017 include free bus transport to the start of the event at Nae Nae Road. (Please indicate whether you intend making use of this free service when you enter.)
Late entries do not include bus transport.
Parking and transport
Parking space is at Race HQ (Ferry Reserve). Please park here and NOT on Gorge Road or at the Bridge Cafe. While ample parking is available, we request that you consider the environment and carpool to the event as far as possible.
Buses will be available at Race HQ to transport all pre-entrants to the start of the event. Participants making use of late entry into the Love My Sport Catchment Ultra need to arrange their own transport to the start of the event. Drop-offs only, as there is limited parking available at the start of the event at Nae Nae Road.
Relay teams need to arrange their own transport to and from the change-over point, and as such will be allowed to park at the change-over point at the start of North Range Road.
The course of the Love My Sport Catchment Ultra is through hazardous terrain, including river crossings, mud, slippery stream crossings, and along an exposed route through the wind farms of the northern Tararuas, where participants may have to face strong winds and rain which can combine to create very cold conditions.
Please acquaint yourself with the safety information and recommended gear lists provided on the Safety Info page.
For a high-resolution (10MB) version of the route map, click on the image below.