Great week-end at Tarawera Ultramarathon!

The second race of the 2020 Ultra-Trail World Tour circuit is already over! Tarawera Ultramarathon took place this week-end in Rotorua, New Zealand.


At 7 am (UTC+13) on Saturday, men and women began a race throughout a stunning scenery with perfect running conditions. This race is not only known for its beautiful landscapes but also for its awesome support crew, especially from the volunteers at the aid stations. Temperatures kept going hire over the day, making the race more difficult. But even though everyone was feeling it, athletes kept fighting to finish their race. And Tarawera Ultramarathon’s organisers were well prepared for that. The aid stations were full of sponges and water, available to everyone.


© 2020 Kurt Matthews, All rights reserved.


© 2020 Kurt Matthews, All rights reserved.

The women’s race was dominated by the debutant Manuela Soccol from Belgium and the Canadian Anne-marie Madden. The two women ran together the whole time. At the aid station, over 40 km after the starting line, only 30 seconds were separating the two. The South African, Naomi Brand, was just over 10 minutes behind them.


80 km later, Manuela was still leading the race with Anne-Marie by her side. The finish line was going to be exciting as the Belgium and the Canadian were still running side-by-side.


Eventually, after running more than 95 km Manuela took the lead but Anne-Marie kept fighting and chased Manuela until the end.


Manuela Soccol crossed the finish line in tears and said she didn’t think she could win. But she felt strong! She said: “I tried to enjoy everything and the beautifulness, but it was hard and painful at times. The support was just so great, I couldn’t imagine anything better.”


Just behind her, 13 minutes later, her running partner Anne-Marie Madden arrived and took the second place.


The South African Naomi Brand arrived in third position, 50 minutes after the first woman. She said she admires the race of the two women : « Today was amazing for me to be on the podium running against such high-quality athletes, the runner with long legs and the dynamite in a small pocket were just so good today. »


Women’s podium

1. Manuela Soccol – 9:39:49

2. Anne-Marie Madden – 9:52:42

3. Naomi Brand – 10:31:25



© 2020 Kurt Matthews, All rights reserved.

From the men’s side, Tom Evans, the winner of the race, led the race from the beginning until the end. At the Outlet aid station, 40 km after the starting line, the British was in front, three minutes ahead of American Sage Canaday. Mathieu Blanchard, from France, was third followed by the American Kris Brown and New Zealander Patrick Reagan.


14 km later, Tom was still leading the race, now 25 minutes ahead of Mathieu who had passed Sage. Thus, Sage was now third, just over a minute behind the French. Kris kept his fourth place. It was a real battle to win the second place.


At km 95, Tom was joined by his pacer Hayden. He held a solid lead in front all day showing that he was in control. He said: “It was just one of those days where everything felt right”. He was really well prepared for this race. He explained that he split the race into three parts. The plan was to chill out at the beginning, then to apprehend well the technical parts and eventually carry himself into the finish line.


The real fight was for the second place on the podium. Mathieu Blanchard eventually took it. He said it was a stunning race and enjoyed running in the jungle to cool down a little.


Less than one minute later, Kris Brown arrived and put his name to third. He fought hard to catch up Sage Canaday.


Ce fut une course très intense, dominée par des athlètes internationaux !


Men’s podium


1. Tom Evans – 8:03:29

2. Mathieu Blanchard – 8:39:56

3. Kris Brown – 8:40:51



New ranking system !



As we announced during the award ceremony, there is a new ranking system this year. It has been put in place after the first race of the 2020 Ultra-Trail® World Tour circuit, the Vibram® Hong-Kong 100.


Now, runners need to have taken part in a minimum of four races in the last 24 months to be included in the ranking, with the overall ranking recalculated from the new results from each completed event.


You can have a look at the ranking here.

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