• Patrick McBride


Ruth Croft has claimed a history making victory in the 102km race at the 2021 Tarawera Ultramarathon during the weekend.

Ruth Croft pictured during the Tarawera Ultramarathon.

PHOTO CREDIT: Graeme Murray

Croft became the first female runner to claim the outright 102km title, and in doing so set a new women’s course record on the trails around Rotorua of 9:21:03.

The 32-year-old was at the pointy end of the field in the Ultra-Trail® World Tour race all day long, taking the lead around the halfway mark and never looked back, finishing 18 minutes ahead of second place finisher, and first male, Rhys Johnston.

“I’m stoked, it’s just a good day, not much more to say than that,” said Croft. “I tried to start a bit conservatively, but it was pretty tough because the first 30km is so fast.

“I tried to put the hammer down a bit at 31km and then had a good bunch of guys that I was running with,” she said. “They were dragging me around actually and it got frustrating when they were setting the pace and it felt like it was just a bit too fast but it was always good to have a bit of company out there.

“I tried to get a gap where the boat ride is but then I suffered a bit after that on the road but pulled it together to the end,” said Croft. “I had the splits for the course record at each of the aid stations so I was just trying not to fall behind.

“The plan today was to stay on top of my nutrition and hydration in that first half of the race and I was able to do that,” she said. “It was awesome to have a normal race experience today, everyone out on the course was grateful and the support at each of the aid stations was great, it was an awesome day.”

Croft, from Greymouth, adds the Tarawera Ultramarathon 102km victory to her impressive resume which features some of the most prestigious and well-known races on the trail running calendar. Her recent results include winning the last two 55km OCC by UTMB and two 42km Mont Blanc Marathons, she’s also had an eighth place on the road at the Seoul Marathon, which qualified her for the Marathon World Championships.

Tarawera Ultramarathon – 102km


1st – Ruth Croft – 9:21:03

2nd – Konoka Azuma – 10:12:03

3rd – Sue Crowley – 10:56:28


1st – Rhys Johnson – 9:39:29

2nd – Chris Sanson – 9:42:46

3rd – Simon Cochrane – 9:45:06