Ultra Run
Saturday 2 March 2024

Ultra Run

Highest Point
Glendhu Bay, Lake Wānaka
Start Line
Wilcox Green, Arrowtown
Finsh Line

The Motatapu Ultra traverses the absolutely stunning ridges and valleys of the Harris Mountain Range between Wānaka and Arrowtown. The mountain run track covers 52km of exposed and physically challenging back-country terrain across the Motatapu and Soho Stations on an old travellers' route that is steeped in New Zealand history.

You will ascend a total of 2,496 metres over four peaks (the highest point being 1230m), and negotiate rough tussock-covered areas, long, steep saddles and river crossings. It will be an accomplishment you'll remember and be very proud of for a long time to come.

The Ultra course follows the DOC Motatapu Track, which forms part of the Te Araroa Walking Trail from Cape Reinga to Bluff. Te Araroa, meaning "The Long Pathway", connects settlements, townships and cities throughout New Zealand, showcasing a wide variety of NZ experiences - natural, cultural and historic.


Motatapu Ultra athletes must have prior mountain running and marathon distance race experience. This is not an event for novice runners. All competitors are required to check-in and pick up their race number on Friday evening in Wānaka or Arrowtown. While checking-in, every competitor must get their mandatory gear checked. This will be checked again at Checkpoint A.

Throughout the race, competitors must follow route markers, stick to the DOC walking track, and remain within 200 metres of the poled route.

Competitors must use stiles wherever possible and leave all gates as they find them.


Course Maps

Event Details

Entry Fees View Entry Fees here
Event Date Saturday 2 March 2024
Distance 52.7km
Start Line Glendhu Bay, Lake Wānaka
Start List Start lists will be published closer to the event
Finish Line Wilcox Green, Arrowtown
Start Time 6:00am
Categories Individual: Male and Female 18-29 yrs, 30-39 yrs, 40-49 yrs, 50+ yrs,
Minimum Age Must strictly be 18 years of age on race day to compete
Prize Giving Prize Giving will take place at 4pm, at the finish line (Wilcox Green). 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each category recognised.
Prize Money, Awards & Spot prizes Overall Male and Female solo winners will be awarded NZD$500.00

Awards will be presented to 1st, 2nd & 3rd in each race category.

All competitors will be eligible for the spot prize and this will be randomly drawn. A list of winners will be published on race day at the information desk at the Finish Line in Wilcox Green, Arrowtown and available on the Motatapu App.  If your race number is showing on the list, then head along to the information tent and show your race number to collect your prize. The information desk will be open from 9am until 8pm on race day for you to come along and claim your prize!

Mandatory Gear checklist Click here to view the requirements.

Mandatory Gear check at Athlete Registration and on-course at Checkpoint A.

Athlete Check-in Friday 1 March, 3-7pm, Wilcox Green, Arrowtown

Friday 2 March, 4-7pm, Mt Aspiring College, Wānaka

Cut-off Times Checkpoint A: 8am (Fern Burn Hut, 9.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will walk back to the start area with the CP A Crew.

Checkpoint B: 10am (Highland Hut, 15.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will walk back to the start area with the CP B Crew.

Checkpoint C: 3pm (Rose’s Hut, 26.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will be driven off course with the CP C Crew to Glendhu Bay (start area) and then onto Arrowtown.

Checkpoint D: 6pm (Macetown, 36.5km from start). Athletes who miss this cut-off will be driven off course with the CP D Crew to Arrowtown (finish area).

Course cut-off: 8pm. Athletes who miss this cut-off and are still on the course will be driven off course with Officials to Arrowtown (finish area).

Cut-off times will be strictly enforced, noting the time listed is the time you must be leaving the Checkpoint, not arriving, and then stopping for 15 minutes.

Race Briefing There will be a race briefing before you start. It is compulsory for you to attend your race briefing. It will include up-to-date course and weather conditions. The briefing will be based on you having read all the information sent to you pertaining to your event.

Mandatory Gear Checklist

The Motatapu mandatory gear list contains what we believe is the absolute minimum to keep you safe in the alpine environment.  The weather is very unpredictable in the high country, a front can blow in and out of the mountains in less than 12 hours. It has been both sweltering hot and freezing cold in this area during March so you should be well prepared with all the necessary gear for all conditions, including snow, due to the high elevation of this event.

All competitors must carry the mandatory gear at all times during race day. No mandatory gear = no start!

The Ultra Run will have a mandatory gear check at Athlete registration. Competitors must have all mandatory gear items in order to get their race number and start the race. There will also be a mandatory gear check on course at Checkpoint A (Fernburn Hut) of one random item. Any competitors missing any items will not be allowed to continue

Bad Weather Exit Routes

If the weather is suitable for the race to go ahead but later closes in, making the route impassable, competitors will be required to follow the pre-set evacuation plan. If any changes are required to these evacuation plans, you will be given an updated version on race day. Competitors will also have a copy of the exit routes printed on the back of their race bib.

Start Line - Glendhu Bay

Limited facilities are available at the Glendhu Bay start line, including an Info Tent, toilets, parking and coffee vendor!

Parking is available at Glendhu Bay.  Please follow the directions of traffic marshals as to where to park. All vehicles are treated as parking and there is no drop off area.

Please note that there will be heavy traffic flows heading towards Glendhu Bay on event day.  Please factor this into your travel time and take extreme care, watching for sudden stops in traffic.

A bag drop service operates from the start line area for the Ultra Run. A gear trailer will be waiting at the start line for you to put any excess clothing/gear into. This trailer will then be driven to the finish line area to await your arrival. Please note: no mandatory gear can be left with this bag drop service, all mandatory gear must be carried with you through the course. We take all care but no responsibility for anything put into the gear trailer. Please use the bag tag provided to you at Athlete Check-in.


The Ultra Run has four Checkpoints. All Checkpoints will have water and a small quantity of PURE electrolyte hydration drink. Checkpoints C&D will have various food such as cake, sandwiches, chips, oranges, boiled salted potatoes and Em's Power bars in a variety of flavours. Athletes must still bring their own nutrition as per the mandatory gear list. Athletes are encouraged to take their rubbish with them and can leave at it Checkpoint C as the volunteers have more space for rubbish here.

**Please note: While we are there to help, please ensure you carry enough food and drink to get you through your race.

Finish Line - Arrowtown

The finish line for all events is located at Wilcox Green, next to Nairn Street, in the heart of Arrowtown. The Finish area will offer the full post-race experience; where you can relax, soak up the atmosphere, appreciate a well-earned massage, refuel, and enjoy celebrating your achievement with friends and family. Make a day of it enjoying the local flavours of the region, with plenty of delicious food stalls, beer, and entertainment; whilst cheering on other finishers throughout the day.

Race Rules

Click here to view the Race Rules

UTMB Index Race

The Motatapu Ultra Run is officially a UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) Index Race for 2023. This is a system of assessing the performance level of each trail runner. The UTMB index system provides all finishers of a valid UTMB Index race, an index number in the distance corresponding race category of the race. For all races in the UTMB World Series, runners with a valid UTMB Index will have a priority entry. For more information click here.


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