participant rules

Participant Rules

It is important for each entrant to recognize the potential physical and mental stresses, which may evolve from participation in this run.

1. I have read and understand the information regarding this event and understand that I participate in this event at my own risk.

2. I acknowledge and accept that trail running carries an inherent risk of injury, illness and in extreme cases, death.

3. I will be drug and alcohol free for this event.

4. I acknowledge that although the event has medical personnel and resources at various points along the course, the inaccessibility of much of the trail will make it difficult or impossible for medical assistance to reach me immediately and extractions may take a period of time.

5. I agree to allow event medical staff to treat me as they see fit.

6. I hereby attest and verify that I am physically fit and have sufficiently trained for this event.

7. I understand that competing in this event may involve running and walking on wilderness trails with rocks, roots, stream crossings, and up and down steep terrain. The hazards may include but are not limited to; challenging terrain, rocks, roots, adjacent streams, rivers, motor vehicle traffic, slippery surfaces, loose rocks, soft sand, weather conditions, heat exhaustion, hypothermia, actions of spectators, other competitors, general public and the event organisers personnel.

8. I agree to comply with the rules and directions of event officials and their personnel.

9. I will stay on the marked course at all times, unless instructed by event staff.

10. I will obey all course marking.

11. If race management indicate that compulsory gear is needed in this year’s edition of the race, I will wear or take the compulsory safety equipment required by the event.

12. My support crew and I will obey the instructions given by event staff.

13. I accept that I may be pulled from the course at any time with the discretion of event staff primarily for, but not limited to, safety reasons.

14. I will complete the entire course under my own power.

15. I will not light any fires.

16. I will be respectful of other trail users such as recreational walkers and mountain bikers.

17. I will not litter.

18. Smoking is not permitted at any of the checkpoints or along the trail by participants, staff, spectators or supporters.

19. Any participant who is unable to finish the event must inform the nearest event staff of their decision to withdraw and make sure their race number is recorded, or text the Safety or Operations Manager (see rear of race number for phone numbers).

20. Participants who leave the course/event without informing staff of their race number will be classified as “missing”. The participant will be contacted on their mobile phone and their emergency contact will be called. If there is no response from either party or the emergency contact does not know the status of the runner, a search will be activated.  Any search related costs will be charged to the participant.

21. Anti-Doping Policy and Statement: Race management reserves the right to drug test any participant competing in this event – from the time of registration to after the completion of the event.  Agreement to submit to drug testing is a condition of entry.

22. I understand that the event transfer and refund policies are, as stated on the website at the time I entered, and are not negotiable.

23. I hereby allow the use of my name and image to be used in the media and for marketing purposes.

24. I hereby allowing aerial filming of myself, including use of drones, as part of this event.

25. I hereby agree that in the case of event cancellation due to extreme inclement weather (at the discretion of event officials), my entry fee shall be non-refundable.

26. I hereby acknowledge this waiver, release and indemnity discharge all persons, corporations, associations and bodies involved or otherwise engaged in promoting or staging the event and their servants, agents, representatives, officers and employees. This includes but is not limited to the various committees, members, and employees of all independent contracted suppliers to the event, local councils, cities and districts and their respective officers, directors, employees, independent contractors, representatives, agents, volunteers, event organisers and sponsors whether or not the loss, injury or damage is attributed to the act or neglect of any or more of them.

27. I also understand that my contact details will be added to the NZ Trail Runs Ltd. events database, and that I will receive emails directly from NZ Trail Runs Ltd. You can always opt out of the email list.

28. I understand that I can unsubscribe from this database at any time. NZ Trail Runs Ltd. will not, under any circumstances, distribute at any time, the contact details of those on the NZ Trail Runs database.



Podium spots and race records

Runners or walkers who switch distances on race day and finish in the top 5 (men or women) for that distance will still be recorded for their time and place in that distance on the website.

However, for all media, prizegiving ceremony, place-getter medals, and official communications, only those who entered that distance will be acknowledged as being in the top 5 per distance/gender.

Course records will be set by any runner who completes the distance in the fastest ever recorded time on race day.

Walking is allowed – and is encouraged. Most runners, will walk the course at times  – especially the uphills. Runners will probably walk more later in the event as fatigue sets in.

Cut-Off times 
There are no cutoff times in this event.


If an incident occurs, please contact one of the aid station staff or a mountain bike safety volunteer, a medical/safety officer or a marshal on the course. They will radio one of the safety personnel to respond, or will call in an ambulance or helicopter.

The Waitomo Trail Run is a physically challenging event. Participation presents potential medical risks.

Participation in this event is at the runner’s own risk. Although Run Management has medical personnel at various points along the course, the inaccessibility of much of the trail will make it difficult or impossible for medical assistance to reach the runner immediately.

Participants are encouraged to see their own medical doctor prior to the event. Runners should be knowledgeable about the stress effects linked to participation in ultra events.

It is important for each entrant to recognise the potential physical and mental stresses, which may evolve from participation in this event. Runners may be subject to extremes of heat and cold, hypothermia, hyperthermia, dehydration, hypoglycemia, hyponatremia, disorientation and mental and physical exhaustion. Run Management and the medical staff strive to work with runners. They will do all they reasonably can to ensure “safe passage”  but ultimately runners must understand their own limitations. This is one event where it is better to follow the dictates of your body, not your ambitions! Adequate physical and mental conditioning prior to the event is mandatory. If you have not been able to prepare properly, do not attempt to run!

Runners should appreciate the risks associated with participation in this event. Actions may have to be taken on your behalf under extreme time constraints and adverse circumstances. We will make reasonable efforts to give assistance whenever possible. Ultimately and primarily you are in charge. Be careful, be responsible, and do not exceed your own abilities and limitations.

Some of the main risks of the Run, but certainly not all of them, are listed. These should be understood and remembered by all runners, before and during the event. Please note that death can result from several of the risk conditions discussed below or from other aspects of participation in the Tarawera Marathon.

There will be vehicle traffic on one road crossing. You should be well aware of this when running on roads. Make sure you look both ways when crossing any roads. Areas with cars will be sign-posted.

Renal Shutdown:

Cases of renal shutdown (acute renal failure) have been reported in similar events. Renal shutdown occurs from muscle tissue injury which causes the release of myoglobin, a protein material, into the blood plasma. Myoglobin is cleared from the blood stream by the kidneys and will look brownish-colored in the urine. Adequate hydration will help flush myoglobin through the kidneys. Overwhelming amounts of myoglobin may clog the filtering system of the kidneys either partially or totally. If not treated, renal shutdown can cause permanent impairment of kidney function. IT IS CRUCIAL TO CONTINUE HYDRATING USING ELECTROLYTE FLUIDS DURING THE FINAL HOURS OF THE RUN AND FOR SEVERAL DAYS FOLLOWING THE RUN OR UNTIL THE URINE IS LIGHT YELLOW AND OF NORMAL FREQUENCY.

Do NOT take any NSAIDs – especially Ibuprofen during this event. It will greatly increase your risk of renal failure. Runners have been hospitalised for taking these drugs in this event. There is a very fine line between hospitalisation / permanent kidney damage and death.

Heat Stroke/Hyperthermia:
Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are risks. Temperatures may approach 30 degrees C recorded on race day.

These conditions can cause death, kidney failure and brain damage. It is important that runners be aware of the symptoms of impending heat injury. These include but are not limited to: nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, faintness, irritability, confusion, weakness, and rapid heart rate. Impending heat stroke may be preceded by a decrease in sweating and the appearance of goose bumps on the skin, especially over the chest. Heat stroke may progress from minimal symptoms to complete collapse, in a very short period of time. Remember that your muscles produce tremendous amounts of heat when running up and down hills. The faster the pace, the more heat is produced. A light-coloured shirt and cap, particularly if kept wet during the race, can help. Acclimatisation to heat requires approximately two weeks. It is recommend you train for periods of at least 90 minutes, in 25 degree C. heat or hotter, for at least two weeks prior to the event.

If signs of heat exhaustion occur, we recommend rapid cooling by applying ice to the groin, neck and armpits. Runners may drink approximately one-quarter or more of their body weight in fluids during this event. This means that an average 68kg runner could possibly drink 17 litres or more of fluid, depending on the heat factor and individual differences. In addition to drinking at checkpoints, runners will be encouraged to carry fluids between checkpoints. To accurately measure fluid intake and output balance, weigh yourself before and after your training runs. This will help you establish your personal fluid requirements (especially during the heat of the day). Remember to replace electrolytes lost from sweat and fluids. Every runner has different needs that should be determined during training.

Risks Associated With Low Sodium and Chloride Counts:
Low sodium levels (hyponatremia) in ultramarathon runners have been associated with severe illness requiring hospitalization. It is important for long-distance athletes to use fluids containing electrolytes to replace the water and salts lost during exercise. WATER INTAKE ALONE IS NOT SUFFICIENT, as water intoxication and possibly death may result. This problem may in fact worsen after the race, as the non-electrolyte-containing fluid, which has been accumulating in the stomach, is absorbed. Potassium and calcium replacement may also be important, although these levels change less with fluid loss and replenishment. Signs and symptoms of hyponatremia include: weight gain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion, lack of coordination, dizziness, muscle twitching/cramping and fatigue. There are two ways to put oneself at risk of hyponatremia: 1) over-hydration (with water or even electrolyte-containing sports drinks); and 2) replacing sweat with hypotonic fluids. You should use the salt tablets provided on race day and other salty foods such as chips. Those at greater risk of hyponatremia include: female runners, smaller runners, slower runners, and runners with a low sweat rate.

Risks of hyponatremia can be minimised by acclimatising to the heat, training the endocrine system, salting foods a few days prior to the run, matching fluid and electrolyte intake to sweat losses and monitoring weight. The best way to achieve proper electrolyte and fluid balance is to hydrate with fluids containing proper amounts of electrolytes and to replace with sodium-containing foods or supplements, if required, and as determined during your training. Potassium, while present in many electrolyte-replacement solutions, may also be replaced with fruit, such as bananas or oranges. Beer or other alcoholic beverages should not be taken at any time during the event. Electrolyte-containing fluids should be continued after finishing until the gastrointestinal tract is fully functional, which may take several hours. Once the gut is working and adequate hydration has occurred, the normal balance of thirst, hunger, digestion and kidney filtration will maintain the proper balance of fluids and electrolytes.

Effects of Cold/Hypothermia:
Temperatures will likely be warm during the run, but be prepared for changeable cold weather, even during the middle of the race. Hypothermia is a potentially serious risk, especially running late in the evening through to early nightfall since one’s energy reserves will have been depleted from 14-16 or more hours of running. Hypothermia can strike very quickly, particularly when pace slows from exhaustion or injury. The initial warning signs of hypothermia often include lethargy, disorientation and confusion. The runner will feel very cold with uncontrolled shivering and may become confused, unaware of the surroundings, and may possibly be an immediate danger to him or herself. Staying well nourished, adequately hydrated and appropriately clothed will help avoid hypothermia. It is important that runners have access to warm clothing through their support crews, drop bags, or both. If there is any question, carry a light jacket when you leave the final Tarawera River Aid Station.

Use of Drugs:
No drugs of any kind should be taken before, during or immediately after the event! Many drugs can increase the risk of heat stroke. A partial list of problem drugs include NSAIDS (including Ibuprofen), amphetamines, tranquilizers, and diuretics.

Anti-Doping Policy and Statement.
We are working hard to ensure our sport remains clean of performance enhancing drugs. To this end, race management is in regular communication with Drug Free Sport NZ regarding anti-doping programmes. From these communications, we have taken the following steps:

- Race management reserves the right to drug test any athlete competing in this event – from the time of registration to the completion of the event. Agreement to submit to drug testing is a condition of entry. Any testing will be conducted in a manner consistent with the requirements of the World Anti-Doping Code including the WADA Prohibited List. (See link below for more information on those requirements.)

- No athlete that is currently serving a sanction for violating sports anti-doping rules may enter the Waitomo Trail Run, Tarawera Ultramarathon or Tarawera Trail Marathon & 50km.

- No athlete that was issued a sanction between 1 January 2013 and 31 Dec. 2014 for violating sports anti-doping rules may enter the Waitomo Trail Run, Tarawera Ultramarathon or Tarawera Trail Marathon &50km until 1 Jan. 2017.

Race management will disqualify the entry of any athlete violating (2) or (3) who attempts to enter these events.

Race management will provide anti-doping education to our participants, in conjunction with Drug Free Sport NZ. Considerable resources for athletes, coaches and support staff is on the Drug Free Sport NZ website:

Injuries From Falling:
Falling is an ever-present danger on the Waitomo Trail Run, with potentially serious consequences. Much of the trail is narrow, some uneven and rutted patches occur.

Muscle Necrosis:
It has been found that some degree of muscle cell death in the legs occurs from participation in the run. The recovery can take several months. This seems to be a bigger problem in runners who become dehydrated or have overexerted themselves. Medical analysis of blood samples taken from ultrarunners shows that this occurs to some degree in all runners.

Overuse Injuries:
Obviously, innumerable overuse injuries can occur, especially in the knee and the ankle. Sprains and fractures can easily occur on these rough trails. Blisters may cause you to have a sore day, or in severe circumstances may prevent you from finishing.

Common Fatigue:
One of the dangers you will encounter is fatigue. Fatigue, combined with the effects of dehydration, hypothermia, hyperthermia, hyponatremia, hypoglycemia and other debilitating conditions can produce disorientation and irrationality.

Getting Lost:
Although Run Management endeavors to mark the Waitomo Trail Run course, it is definitely possible to lose the trail. If you believe at any time that you may not be on the correct trail, do not attempt to find your way cross-country. If you are sure of your route, backtrack to where you last saw a trail marker and try to find other markers showing the direction of the trail. If you are unable to find your way, stay where you are! Wandering randomly will take you farther from the trail and reduce your chances of being found. If you do become injured, exhausted or ill, STAY ON THE TRAIL. You will be found there either by another runner, or the mountain bike safety patrol that monitor the progress of runners during the event. If you feel dizzy, disoriented or confused, do not risk falling. Sit or lie down on the trail until you recover or are found. An unconscious runner even a few feet off the trail could be impossible to find until it is too late. If you are assisted by individuals who are not associated with Run Management, and you elect to leave the trail, you MUST notify the official at the nearest aid station of your decision to withdraw.

Difficulty in Gaining Access to or Locating Injured Participants:
Much of the Waitomo Trail Run longer courses are remote and inaccessible by motor vehicle. Accordingly, in spite of the many layers of safety precautions instituted by Run Management (including radio communications, rescue helicopters on standby, mountain bike search and rescue personnel and other emergency services and medical personnel at many checkpoints), there is absolutely no assurance that aid or rescue assistance will arrive in time to give you effective assistance should you become sick, incapacitated or injured.

Although medical and other personnel will assist you when possible, remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own wellbeing on the trail. Only you will know how your body and mind feel at any given time. Monitor yourself during the entire run, and prepare yourself to drop out at the nearest checkpoint if you find it just isn’t your day. As you continue past each medical checkpoint, be aware of the number of kilometres to the next one, realising that getting rescue vehicles into these areas can be difficult, if not impossible.

Aside from all that – have fun!