Jez Bragg – APPLAUSE please

Copyright Jez Bragg and team

Copyright Jez Bragg and team

“So with those two big back to back days complete, I’m now just a smidgen over 250 kilometres from Bluff. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about the finish now. I’m starting to visualise the end, and think about the day I wake up and don’t need to run. That is starting to appeal more and more. This has been quite some journey, and my body is starting to get rather weary.”

Yes, Jez has just 250km to go to set a new record for covering ‘The Long Pathway‘ in New Zealand, Teararoa.

Despite some sickness he has battled through and as he says above, the end is in sight.

Many congratulation Jez on what has been an epic journey.

 I’m starting to visualise the end, and think about the day I wake up and don’t need to run.

I’m starting to visualise the end, and think about the day I wake up and don’t need to run.

Make sure you read his blog HERE

Tarawera Ultramarathon

Tarawera trails set for world-class endurance test on March 16 2013

Tarawera Logo

It’s a ridiculously long-distance running race on some of the most beautiful trails in New Zealand’s North Island.

The 100 kilometre Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon will be run on the magnificent bush tracks and forestry roads from Rotorua to Kawerau on Saturday March 16.

One of the world’s toughest endurance running races, it’s the brainchild of Paul Charteris. The Rotorua event organiser launched ‘the Tarawera’ 5 years ago and for many of the world’s best off-road distance runners, it has quickly become a ‘must-do’.

“The quality of the field is amazing,” says Charteris, with a grin. “The 2013 Tarawera Ultra will be the most competitive long distance running event in New Zealand since the 1990 Commonwealth Games marathon.”

It’s a bold claim.
“The race sold out months ago and the 430-strong field is stacked with the world’s best,” says Charteris to back this up. “The winners of nearly every major international ultra marathon race will be on the start-line.”

A lot of top Kiwi runners will also be in the field, defending local honour.

“The ultra-racing world is keen to see how 21-year-old Barefoot Inc sponsored, Ruby Muir from Napier will handle the distance”, continues Charteris. “She’s unbeaten – including winning her first ever ultra distance run when she stormed away from the field at the 2012 60k Kepler Challenge in Te Anau.”

Muir is expected to receive stiff competition from Dunedin’s Anna Frost, widely regarded as the top female trail runner in the world last year. Frost’s Salomon Racing teammates, Emelie Forsberg from Sweden and Candice Burt from the United States will also be on the start line, along with Australia’s Beth Cardelli.

Copyright Ian Corless

Copyright Ian Corless

Cardelli won the last eight events she entered in her home country.

The top of the men’s field is a fleet-footed freight train of long-distance talent.

Mick Donges from Katoomba Australia is back to defend his 2012 Tarawera title against Christchurch’s Vajin Armstrong. The Kiwi finished second over the 100km distance the past two years and is keen to go one better.

Colorado-based runner Anton Krupicka, who ran a relay leg at Tarawera last year, has already fired a warning shot, posting online that he’s coming back to New Zealand for the win.

“This year, I’m looking forward to the technical trail between Humphries Bay and Tarawera Falls most of all,” says Krupicka. “The whole section from Okataina Lodge to the Falls will definitely be a highlight of the day, especially cruising at race pace.”

Copyright Ian Corless

Copyright Ian Corless

UPDATE* on Anton Krupicka posted on his blog site:

“I decided over a week ago to not make the trip down to New Zealand for the Tarawera 100K in 10 days, and despite my hip showing significant improvement I know it was the right choice. I’ve done no long runs of any type since December and don’t have any desire to travel all that way to muddle through 62 miles with poor fitness and a very likely chance of re-injuring myself”

Other top runners to watch will be Brendan Davies, Australia’s ultra runner of the year and Timothy Olson, Jason Schlarb, Rickey Gates and Sage Canaday from the United States. France’s Francios D’haene and Greg Vollet lead the European contingent.


Interviews are available on Talk Ultra as listed below:

  • Brendan Davies episode 23
  • Timothy Olson episode 12
  • Anton Krupicka episode 19
  • Anna Frost episode 3 and 9
  • Emelie Forsberg episode 28 (future show)

Olson and D’haene won the two biggest races in the world during 2012. Olson won the Western States 100-mile endurance run in California in record time and
D’haene won the coveted Ultra Trail Mont Blanc title in his home country, with over 2000 runners in the field.

Canaday throws some freakish speed into the mix. A 2:16 marathoner, he has recently switched to ultra distance racing and became the United States 100km trail champion just last week. You can listen to an interview with Sage Canaday on Talk Ultra episode 27.

For Race Director, Charteris, it’s been a dizzying few weeks.

“It’s like organising a local bicycle race and having half of the Tour de France peloton show up for the ride,” says Charteris, as he scoped out a section of the course in Rotorua’s world-renowned Whakarewarewa Forest. “It’s humbling – and frankly, scary.”

Rotorua is renowned for hosting a number of international sporting events.

In 2006 the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championship were in Rotorua and the Single Speed World Champs were held in the Whakarewarewa Forest in 2010.

On race day, running shoes will replace wheels on many of the same trails.
“A beautiful environment and superb athletes – it really is a recipe for a fabulous day of racing,” enthuses Charteris.

“And with this sort of fierce competition, there will be a large national and international media following for this race. It will be a big week for the region.”

Jez Bragg – Te Araroa video 1



As many of you will know, I have been following Jez Bragg very closely on his New Zealand expedition running ‘The Long Pathway‘ called the Te Araroa Trail.


I caught up with Jez before he departed for New Zealand at a press conference in London. You can see that post and listen to an audio interview HERE

Episode 26 of Talk Ultra will be out this Friday and will contain an interview with Jez which we made on Monday 7th just after his succesful crossing of the Cook Strait. We discuss the expedition so far and what is to come on the South Island. Make sure you check out Talk Ultra this week HERE

In the meantime here is a video to wet your appetite

The Long Pathway – Jez Bragg


INTERVIEW available from the press conference HERE


So, Jez Bragg or should we call him ‘Frodo’ is heading off on an epic journey that I am pretty sure we would all love to embark on… 3000+km in New Zealand on the TE ARAROA TRAIL starting at the top of North Island and heading all the way down to the bottom of the South Island. Epic.

He leaves the UK in early December and starts on the trail on the 12th. He has a crew of two and in the new year when he reaches the south, Jez will be joined by his The North Face team mate, Mike Wolfe.

Dedicated crew

But this is no ordinary journey, not only will Jez be running and walklng from top to bottom of New Zealand, he will also be kayaking 100+km to cross all sections of water. He plans to complete the journey in 50 days which equates to 40 miles per day.

His crew will have a mobile home for the duration of the adventure but as Jez explained, he will at times ‘fast pack’ on the route to save time and maximise daily mileage. To this end The North Face have developed some specific kit for Jez that he will be able to use. A new double skin tent, a new sleeping bag, a new ‘base’ layer, new shoes, new packs and new jackets. Some of these items will be in-store 2013 but others will only be available 2014. Before you all ask… the new lightweight race vest will be 2014! I know, nice bit of kit eh!


  • Casimir 36 Pack
  • Alpine Project Jacket
  • Stormy Trail Jacket
  • Stormy Trail Pant
  • Hypertrack Guide Shoe
  • ‘Better than Naked’ Hat, SS shirt and shorts
  • Capri Tight
  • Mica 1 PL Tent
  • Hightail 25 Sleeping Bag
  • plus other equipment such as the light weight race vest

Journeys of this scale and size are what The North Face are experts in. They love the possibility to test out equipment and develop what is required by consumers before it hits the shops. Jez will have multiple kit options available whilst in New Zealand and use a variety of equipment that will suit the days of changeable weather.

I caught up with Jez at the Press Conference in central London and talked with him about the journey ahead, the preparation and what it is like getting ready for 50 days of running 40 miles a day. This audio will be available within episode 22 of Talk Ultra available for dowload on iTunes and on November 16th. However, you can listen to the interview with Jez HERE (this is the same audio as linked at the top of the page)


Here is a BIO on Jez Bragg:

In a sport when it’s often the older competitors who excel, Jez has stood out for the seven years he’s been running ultras as a youngster on a mission. He arrived in the sport by chance more than anything else. His school and early university days all centred round the rugby field where playing six or seven days a week embedded a high level of fitness from the start.

“I have a little theory that my inner strength – which is so important to ultra running – came directly from my upbringing; playing a lot of rugby, climbing trees, riding my bike, all sorts of  physical activities, usually in a relentless fashion. It was undoubtedly the foundations for the level of endurance I have today.”

Jez picked up ultra running as a ‘natural’ progression from the marathon that he trained for as a one off charity challenge 2001. The attraction of ultra distance trail running came from a combination of a love for the outdoors, the excitement of adventure and the endurance embedded from his upbringing.

“Every long run in a new place provides a wonderful opportunity to explore. To me it is one of the greatest attractions of the sport; being able to cover long distances, non-stop, on foot, getting to the places that most can’t reach. To be solo, on foot, creates a wonderful sense of freedom in a world where day-to-day life is increasingly frantic. There are few sports that offer such a pure and unhindered way in which to explore the hills, mountains and countryside. When you run in places such as the Highlands of Scotland, the scenery inspires and gives strength to push you further. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Jez won his first trail ultra marathon in emphatic fashion and has gone on to win most others he has started since then, establishing himself as one of the world’s leading ultra distance runners, both on the trails and the road.

Jez now has his sights firmly set on the global scene, building on the success of his biggest performance to date, a win at The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in August 2010.

Home: Dorset, on the south coast of England, with the best variety of trail running I have found anywhere.

Favourite Place to Travel: The Highlands of Scotland – working my way through the Munros and exploring the wild glens where it’s truly unspoilt.

Favourite Food: A home cooked Sunday roast.

Favourite Book: I’m not much of a reader, but I do have a habit of spending hours gazing at maps and plotting routes across the most inaccessible places I can find! I have a unique ability to plan an off road loop quicker than most.

How I Relax: An early morning coastal path run followed by a swim in the sea.

Little known fact: I don’t train to a specific plan, instead I ‘listen’ to my body and run hard when I feel good, and easier when I’m not quite ‘flowing’.

Best Ever Run: The West Highland Way, Scotland, in June 2006. I have run much faster and stronger since, but for pure enjoyment it tops them all.

Where it all began: Riding my bike, climbing trees, adventures as a kid.

‘Running’ Philosophy: Enjoy and feel the transition of the seasons, explore new areas, push yourself beyond your limits, run for a true sense of freedom, drift along and day dream.

Career Highlights:


2nd place – The Highland Fling Ultramarathon, Scotland
1st place – The Fellsman. Course Record – 10h 06m

4th place – Western States 100, Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

7th place – The North Face® Endurance Challenge Final, San Francisco


1st place – The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
6th place – The North Face® Endurance Challenge Final, San Francisco


1st place – The Highland Fling Ultramarathon, Scotland. Course record – 7h 19m

1st place – UK 100km Championships, Galway, Ireland. Personal best – 6hrs 58m

1st place – Commonwealth 100km Championships, Lake District, UK

1st place – The Fellsman, Yorkshire Dales, UK

3rd place – Western States 100, Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

3rd place – The Lakeland 100, Lake District, UK


1st place – Connemara Ultramarathon, Ireland

1st place – Devil O’ The Highlands Ultramarathon, Scotland. Course record – 5h 22m

1st place – The Highland Fling Ultramarathon, Scotland. Course record – 7h 24m


1st place – The Highland Fling Ultramarathon, Scotland. Course record – 7h 26m

1st place – UK 100km Championships, Edinburgh, Scotland.

18th place – World 100km Championships, Netherlands.


1st place- The West Highland Way Race, Scotland. Course record – 15h 44mins

1st place – High Peak 40/ UK Trail Championships

1st place – The Long Mynd 50, Shropshire

1st place – Round Rotherham 50, Yorkshire

Here is the blog post from Jez himself:

Today I was in London to launch an exciting winter project which has been in planning for over a year now. Starting on 12th December 2012 (12/12/12) I will be tackling the brand new Te Araroa trail in New Zealand – a whopping 3,054km in distance – aiming to complete the full route in under 50 days.
This is a completely new type of challenge for me, moving away from the racing scene for a little while to tackle what will be a trully epic and memorable journey down the full length of New Zealand, from the tip of the North island in Cape Reigna, to the tip of the South island in Bluff.
I presented an overview of the expedition at the launch event today. The objective is:

“A solo, fastest time attempt, running the 3,054 kilometre Te Araora trail in New Zealand.”

There will be plenty more information coming out in the next couple of weeks to fill you in on the detail of the expedition but for now check out the official trail website for more information on the challenge that lies ahead for me :o)