14 March 16: New trail run launched in Waitomo Caves

With a course that takes walkers and runners past glowworms and karst landscapes, through tunnels and native bush, the newly launched Waitomo Trail Run is the latest "must-do" event on the trail running calendar.

The inaugural Waitomo Trail Run will take place on April 30th this year with 6, 11, 22 and 33 kilometre options, offering a rear opportunity to discover the "hidden Waitomo".

The longest distance event starts at Mangapohue Natural Bridge and all events finish at the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Visitors Centre. The route passes though Department of Conservation reserves, as well as private land which can only be accessed on race day.

The 6 and 11km options both have a subterranean start-line among a tapestry of stalactites and limestone formations as runners and walkers line up inside the Ruakuri Cave. The adventure continues up through a spectacular underground spiral staircase before emerging in daylight.

Race Organiser Paul Charteris, says the run offers athletes of all levels a chance to traverse the most unique geological line in New Zealand - and maybe the world.

"This is a completely unique event, taking participants both over and underground through an incredible combination of karst landscapes, tunnels, beautiful gorges, cliffs and forest and sheep farms.

"Glowworms will also light the way as you run or walk through tunnels in the world-famous Waitomo District.

"The Waitomo Trail Run offers a unique and first hand experience of everything that makes New Zealand truly amazing. Visitors come here from all over the world to see these natural wonders, and its all right here in our back yard.

"This is a chance to discover the hidden Waitomo - the places the public does not normally get to explore. We can’t wait to show people this amazing race."

Paul says the range of distances available make it accessible to everyone.

"Both the 22km and 33km courses include additional adventure options, giving runners and walkers the choice of exploring hidden canyons, rocky ridgelines and squeezing through holes in the rocks.

"This event is not just for hardcore runners, we welcome families and people who just want to get out and experience a bit of an adventure."

Paul says the caves are a special and memorable experience, and he encourages families to stay an extra day to tour the glowworm caves not included in this event.

"Or for the truly adventurous, they might want to plunge underground in the world famous blackwater rafting experience!"

Gordon Hewston, of Waitomo Glowworm Caves, says the team is really pleased to be able to assist in bringing this event to life.

"Waitomo’s selection as the location for this new trail run product is a celebration of the unique landscape that we lucky enough to enjoy here every day.

"There’s nowhere else like it, and we look forward to sharing it with running enthusiasts and their supporters! They’re in for an unforgettable experience."

Entries are open now. For further information and entry details go to www.waitomotrailrun.co.nz and www.facebook.com/waitomotrailrun