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Ring of Fire

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The Ruapehu Ring of Fire is undoubtedly one of the most challenging and exhilarating alpine adventure running events in the Southern Hemisphere with its unique combination of terrain, distance, altitude and views.

The circumnavigation of the majestic Mount Ruapehu will challenge competitors physically, mentally and spiritually. It will be tough and uncompromising, but in the end, one of the most authentic sporting experiences available in New Zealand.

How to enter the Ring of Fire

  1. 72km Solo Ultra

    Run 72km
    NZD $450
    Event passed
  2. 72km Relay (Approx 3 x 24km Legs)

    Run 72km
    NZD $570
    Event passed
  3. 50km Solo Ultra

    Run 50km
    NZD $320
    Event passed
  4. 24km Solo

    Run 24km
    NZD $190
    Event passed

Ring of Fire routes


The event is held on the Ruapehu Around the Mountain Track. The 72km Solo Ultra and Relay start and finish at the Chateau Tongariro and will consist of three legs as described below. The 50km Solo Ultra will stat at the top of the Ohakune Mountain Road and use legs two and three to finish at the Chateau. The 24km Solo – 23.5km starts from Tukino Ski Field Rd and also finishes at the Chateau.


72km Solo Ultra – 72.9km

50km Solo Ultra– 50.5km (starts from Turoa ski field carpark)

24km Solo – 23.5km (starts from Tukino Ski Field Rd)

Leg 1 – 23.9km, 1458m+ 1118m- Chateau Tongariro to MUAC Hut, Ohakune Mountain Road

Leg 2 – 25.5km, 1321m+ 1378m- MUAC Hut, Ohakune Mountain Road to Tukino Ski Field Access Road

Leg 3 – 23.5km, 0591m+ 0874m- Tukino Ski Field Access Road to Chateau Tongariro

Total elevation gain +3398m , loss -3398m


Reserve Day: Sunday 24 March 2019 will be kept as a reserve day in case the event can not be held on the planned Saturday 23 March 2019.

If the planned around the mountain course can not be used on Sunday, then an alternative course will be implemented.

If conditions do not allow the event to take place on any course on Sunday 24th March, then the event will be cancelled.


Renowned as ‘The Original Goat’ course, this leg in Ring of Fire will be a modified version of The Original Goat route travelling up the Silica Rapids track onto the Whakapapaiti Track branching onto the Round the Mountain track.

Distance is approximately 23.4km.

Anticlockwise from Chateau Tongariro to Ohakune Mountain Road.

Summary: Technical – elevated, exposed.

Description: This is the most technical leg. The course is a rough trail with stones, creek crossings, uneven ground, rock scrambles and many small but cumulative elevation changes.


This is reffered to as ‘The Missing Link.

Distance is approximately 26km.

Anticlockwise from Ohakune Mountain Road to Tukino Road.

Summary: Technical, big valleys, climbing, long, exposed in sections.

Description: This leg starts with the Ohakune Mountain Road descent, then enters native bush trails. It breaks into open boulder fields and includes the crossing of the Wahianoa River (there is a swing bridge) and finishes with sand, tussock and rocky terrain at the top of the Rangipo Desert.


Renowned as ‘The Tussock Traverse’ course, this leg in Ring of Fire will be a modified version of the Tussock route starting on the Tukino Road dropping down onto the Round the Mountain track on the final leg towards the finish at the Chateau Tongariro.

Distance is approximately 23.5km.

Anitclockwise from Tukino Mountain Road to the Chateau Tongariro (finish line).

Summary: true desert landscape features wind sculptured sands and volcanic rock to Waihohonu stream climbing to the Tama Saddle before descending homeward on well formed tracks.

Description: This is by far the easiest leg of the race (which is great because it is the last). The track surface is excellent and the elevation is quite gentle. The Waihohonu Hut is the only hut on this section. Highlights include passing between Mount Ruapehu on your left and Mount Ngauruhoe and Tongariro on your right. The final 10km or so are a gentle downhill past the impressive Taranaki Falls and onto the finish line.

Event Details

Raceday Logistics

Friday 22 March 2019

11.00am - Official Event Welcome Powhiri & morning tea at Otukou Marae, Otukou Road off SH 47. Directions to Otukou Marae click here Otukou Marae Directions.

1:00pm to 8:00pm - Event registration & compulsory gear check in Tongariro Room, Chateau Tongariro, Whakapapa Village, State Highway 48, Mt Ruapehu 3951.

    At the registration, we will check all of your entry details, check that you have the compulsory gear required and issue you with a race number and transponder for timing purposes. Note: all individual 72k, 50k, 24km ultra runners need to register and show their compulsory gear and ID in person. Relay teams have the option of registering with one team member showing the compulsory gear & ID for each team member.
    There will be TWO compulsory to attend race briefings the day before the event in the Chateau Ballroom. The times for these are 4pm and 8pm. Choose ONE to attend. The briefing will go for approximately 30-40mins maximum. Only one team member from relay teams needs to attend briefing. You must label your dropbags (we provide individualised stickers at registration) and leave your dropbags with us at registration by 8pm on Friday.

Saturday 23 March 2019

4:00am to 4:10am - 72km Ultra and relay start from the Chateau (in self seeded waves)

4:05am - 50km Ultra Bus leaves Chateau for 50km Ultra Start, stopping at National Park and Ohakune to pick up entrants.

6:00am - 50km Ultra start from the Turoa Ski field.

7:30am - 24km Solo bus departs from Chateau to Tukino Road.

10:00am - 24km Solo starts from Tukino Road.

11:00am - Cut off time for 72km Ultra and Relay starting leg 2 at Ohakune Road.

3:00pm - Cut off time for 50km Ultra starting leg 3 at Tukino.

6:00pm - Cut off time for 72km Ultra and Relay starting leg 3 at Tukino.

Midnight - Cut off to finish the event.

Sunday 24 March 2019

8:00am to 10:45am Brunch at the Chateau. (user pays)

9:30am to 10:15am Adventurist Recovery Yoga (Free of Charge) Front lawn or Tongariro Room if wet.

11:00am to 11:45am Awards ceremony in Chateau Ballroom

Kit List


The compulsory equipment that all participants must wear or carry are;

    Running or walking shoes – specific trail shoes are essential and highly recommended. You will need maximum traction!
    Jacket that is waterproof, windproof, breathable, seam sealed with a hood that will keep you warm and dry for prolonged periods in an alpine environment. (Recommendation is that the jacket is rated to at least 5,000mm)
    Thermal base layer long sleeve top these can be polypropylene (polypro), merino or a combination of these
    Thermal mid layer long sleeve top
    Thermal base layer long legs bottom
    Thermal beanie
    Thermal gloves
    Survival bag – not a survival blanket. The requirements of the bag are that you can fit inside it, it is waterproof and windproof. THese should be a high quality bag that will retail for about $25-$40, – see image below.
    First Aid including 1-2 metres of bandage, strapping tape and plasters.
    Mobile Phone – charged in a waterproof container
    Headlamp – fully charged and a second back up light that is not your mobile phone.

This compulsory equipment will be checked;

    the day prior to the event at registration
    on race day at the various start lines. (If the entrant does not have the correct safety gear, then they will not be permitted to start the race).
    at random checkpoints around the course.

There are only 3 access points on the course for you to see you runner – the start, end of leg one (Ohakune Mountain Road) and end of leg two (Tukino Road). Please note that to access Tukino Road, you will need to get a 4WD shuttle from State Highway One – Desert Road/Tukino Road intersection and a small fee will apply – see Transport notes below.




Taking part in the Ring of Fire includes taking on risks. With preparation and care these risks can be minimised so that you have a fun and safe event experience.

Key Hazards

HAZARD: Trips and falls on rough terrain causing injury.

COMMENT: There are some technical sections of the course including the Cascade waterfall climb, the Wahianoa Gorge, dropping off the Tukino Road into the valley. Much of leg one and two have a very uneven running surface.

MANAGEMENT: Take care with where you place your feet and the pace at which you run. If it is technical, slow down to pick your path.

HAZARD: Hypothermia from the cold.

COMMENT: Symptoms include shivering, cold fingers and toes and skin colour change.

MANAGEMENT: You need to take enough gear to star warm while running or walking and enough gear to keep you warm if you stop and can not continue. Take all of the compulsory gear and put it on BEFORE you are cold or wet or both!!!

HAZARD: Traffic collision.

COMMENT: The event uses short sections of public road. Although we do have a Traffic Management Plan in place, none of the roads are closed. Please note: there are NO competitor or supporter vehicles allowed up the Tukino Access Road from the entry point of the Desert Road.

MANAGEMENT: Treat all roads as public road. Take care, run on the shoulder, heads up and watch out for traffic. Event transport on the Tukino Access Road MUST be used by all competitors who present their race bib to get on bus and supporters must purchase a $10 return bus ticket through the shop or at registration.


The following rules apply to this event and will be strictly enforced.

    I have read and understand the information regarding this event and understand that I participate in this event at my own risk.
    I acknowledge and accept that trail running carries an inherent risk of injury, illness and in extreme cases, death.
    I hereby attest and verify that I am physically fit and have trained sufficiently for this event.
    I will be drug and alcohol free for this event.
    I acknowledge that although the Ring of Fire 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.
    I agree to allow event medical staff to treat me as they see fit.
    I hereby allow the use of my name and image to be used in the media and for marketing purposes.
    I will stay on the marked course at all times, unless instructed be event staff.
    I will obey all course marking.
    I will wear or take the compulsory safety equipment required by the event – refer separate list – compulsory equipment for participants.
    My support crew and I will obey the instructions given by event staff.
    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.
    I will complete the entire course under my own power.
    I will not light any fires.
    I will be respectful of other National Park users such as recreational walkers.
    I will not litter.
    Smoking is not permitted at any of the checkpoints or along the trail by participants, staff, spectators or supporters.
    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 Event Safety phone numbers (see race number for phone numbers).
    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.
    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.
    Do not take any form of NSAID drugs such as Ibuprofen as part of this event.

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