Ring of Fire 73km Solo Ultra



Ring of Fire 73km Solo Trail Run

(Click on the course map above to enlarge it)
Elevation: 3370 up, 3370 down.

What an adventure!

The Ring of Fire is without doubt Aotearoa’s toughest ultra a captivating circumnavigation of Mount Ruapehu on the Round the Mountain Track.

Starting and finishing on the lawn outside the historic Chateau Tongariro the race commences on the Silica Rapids Track before branching onto the Whakapapaiti Track adjoining the Round the Mountain Track. Run across volcanic boulder-strewn country, glacial fed river and stream crossings, ancient lava flows, and boardwalks in places. Then ascend the magnificent twin cascade waterfalls up to the Ohakune Mountain Road descending to rejoin the Round the Mountain Track on the section dubbed “The Missing Link’.

You will then traverse the southern side of Ruapehu through stunning native beech forest before embarking on epic crossings of the Wahianoa and Whangaehu Valleys before arriving in the Tukino Desert and the Tukino Area. The final section begins through the Waihohonu Track junction near the base of Mount Ngauruhoe before making your way back to the Chateau.


4.00am: Wave A Starts
4.05am: Wave B Starts
7.11am: Sunrise
11.00am: Course Cut-Off to leave Ohakune Mountain Road transition area
12.30pm: First Finisher Expected
5.30pm: Course Cut-Off to leave Tukino Aid Station
7.30pm: Course Cut-Off to leave Waihohonu Hut
7.45pm: Sunset
11.00pm: Course Cut-Off to arrive at finish line


NO Saturday Registration
Friday pre event registration is compulsory for all Ring of Fire 73km solo entrants.
There is no opportunity for pre event registration on race day.

Minimum Age
Entrants must be 18 years on event day unless an exemption (based on previous performances) is granted by the Race Management team. Requests can be emailed to info@ruapehutrailfestival.co.nz

Compulsory Gear
This event requires the absolute full list of compulsory gear and is the same as Ring of Fire 50km entrants.  Please download this file Comp Gear 73km and 50km for details on exactly what is required so you are prepared.

Check out our sponsors, True Fleece Merino for your base layer long sleeve and beanie!

Entry Qualification

This event is a beast and you must be fully prepared to take on this distance and level of elevation change, high up in the mountains. Our
safety management plan is comprehensive and is resourced to respond to both well prepared entrants “having a bad day” and the usual spills an event like this usually has.

However, it is important that you have physically prepared yourself for the challenges of the Ruapehu mountain running environment.
Please do your best not to overestimate your current ability by simply using your local training run times and distances to determine your
expected finish time for this event.

For this reason, it is critical that knowingly underprepared entrants in any specific distance shift to an alternate distance – one in which they feel fully prepared to meet the challenge ahead.  There is no prerequisite qualifying time for the event as such (that may
come in future years) but you will be asked to submit answers to some simple questions (shown below) during the online registration

In accordance with our Safety Management documentation and upon reviewing your supplied info, our course team reserves the right to:
– Request additional/updated information/evidence of preparedness from you.
– Downgrade your entry to a shorter distance (appropriate refunds will be made in these scenerios)

Tracks & Terrain Used
The event is held on the Ruapehu Around the Mountain Track.  The Ring of Fire 73km solo event starts and finishes at the Chateau Tongariro (on Bruce Road) and will consist of three legs as below.


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: Approx 24km,  Chateau Tongariro to MUAC Hut, Ohakune Mountain Road
  • Elevation: +1458m, -1118m

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.


We will refer to for now as ‘The Missing Link.

  • Distance: Approx 25km,  MUAC Hut on Ohakune Mountain Road to Tukino Access Road Aid Station
  • Elevation: +1321m, -1378m

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: Approx 24km, Tukino Access Road Aid Station to Chateau Tongariro
  • Elevation: +0591m, -0874m

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.

Course Cut-Off Times
There are 4 course cut-off points to think about as shown below.  In previous versions of the Ring of Fire event, entrants have been given up to 20 hours to complete the course.

For the 2023 event that time limit is reduced to 19 hours (i.e the tail needs to go approx 20 mins quicker on each leg than previous years). If you are concerned about the cut-off times, please remember the full 73km is no easy undertaking.  We do have the 50km Ring of Fire to consider for 2023 until you feel more prepared to tackle the Ring of Fire 73km course.

11.00am.  Course Cut-Off to leave Ohakune Mountain Road transition area
5.30pm. Course Cut-Off to leave Tukino Aid Station
7.30pm. Course Cut-Off to leave Waihohonu Hut
11.00pm.  Course Cut-Off to arrive at finish line

Aid Stations x2
While it’s strongly recommended for entrants to be self sufficient on course,  (and to absolutely take advantage of the drop bag service), the event will have medical support, food and drinks available to entrants at both aid stations.

Offerings include:
Watermelon slices
Orange wedges
Boiled sweetcorn thirds (toothpicks provided)
Jet planes
Lightly salted pretzels and chips
Bread (GF also available)
Fix and Fogg Peanut Butter (smooth) & Cookie Butter With spoons or bread
Tailwind Orange Mandarin (non caffeinated) electrolyte drink
Tongariro Water

Time Spent In The Dark
You will spend between 3 and 6 hours in the dark on this course.   In the morning you have a 4.00/4.05am start with sunrise not until 7.11am.  In the evening (if still on course) you have sunset at 7.45pm and a course cut-off of 11.00pm.

A Cupless Event
We are not providing cups at the Aid Stations because we are trying to minimise the waste created from the event. Please bring your own cup or cups.  There are some very good silicone cups for sale in NZ.

Drop Bag Service
Anytime during the Friday event registration, 73km solo athletes have the opportunity to provide our crew with specific gear/food/drink that they would like available to them at either the Ohakune Mountain Road Aid Station (end of Leg 1) or the Tukino Access Road Aid Station (end of Leg 2). All gear must be in your own bags (ideally super recognisable to you).  Make sure your bags are sealed, compact and have your name on them. We will also provide you ID stickers (with your race number on them) to ensure they are available to you at each aid station. There is no spectator access to the Tukino Access Road Aid Station (end of Leg 2), hence the drop bag service.  Drop bags will be returned to the finish area and can be collected following the closure of the respective Aid Stations.   You will need your event number to pick up your drop bags at the finish area on Saturday.  Depending on timelines gear bags can also be collected Sunday morning from us at the prizegiving.

Parking and Transport Info
There will be plenty of parking made available around the Chateau Tongariro for your early morning start line adventure.  As the event starts and finishes at the Chateau Tongariro there is no bus transport associated with this distance.

Thank you to our sponsors!