Mighty Totara

Backyard Ultra, Team Relay & Twilight Marathon


The mighty Totara tree - one of the goliaths of the New Zealand rainforest - will watch over some huge athletic performances in beautiful Totara Park as runners take on a scenic 6.7km loop ... over and over again. Who will conquer the marathon & ultramarathon distances. Which teams will prevail through 6, 12 and 24-hour challenges. And - above all - who will be the Last One Standing?

Experienced runners might consider a 6.7km run in under an hour to be a fairly easy effort. But how about doing it every hour, on the hour ... again and again ... until there was no one left to run with? This is the Mighty Totara Backyard Ultra. If you've never heard of a "Backyard Ultra" before ... prepare to be captivated by this fantastic new race format. All participants - starting together - have up to one hour to complete a 6.7km loop. If they complete it in time, they rest, recover, then line up ready to do it again on the next hour. Over and over again. 

History of the Backyard Ultra

The "Backyard Ultra" format is the brainchild of Gary Cantrell, the visionary US Race Director who dreamed up the crazy Barclay Marathons. A race so challenging that, most years, there are no finishers! The race was imortalised in the documentary "The Barclay Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young." This is required viewing for all participants!

Don't be put off by all the talk around 50k, 100k and more. If you can run 10k in around an hour, the Mighty Totara Backyard Ultra has something for you. Backyard 10 (up to 10 laps / 67k) and Backyard 5 (up to 5 laps/33k) options are there so you can experience the unique fun and challenge of this unique format without having to commit to some of those truly staggering distances. Plus - you get to save a few $$$s over those opting for the more extreme "Last One Standing. Even if you've never run further than a 10k or half marathon, this is your chance to record your Longest Run Ever!

If the backyard format of stop-start running doesn't suit your style then Saturday's 50K Ultramarathon might be just what you are looking for to scratch that "ultra" itch! The distances provides the opportunity to tackle a real athletic challenge, tick off a famous ultramarathon distance - and all on a loop course that mean friends, family (and food!) are within easy contact every few km. This is the ideal oppertunity for your crew to cheer you on and even self-supported runners can lay out the nutrition needs and replenish at the end of each lap without having to carry it all on board. Mint!

A Mighty Medal Momento

Everyone who finishes at least one lap will receive the stunning Mighty Totara "Mighty Medal" at the conclusion of their event (one per team member for relays) as a great reminder of a momentous and mighty achievement. And for those hardy souls in the Backyard Ultra, Marathon and Ultramarathons - your medal will be decorated with a selection of distance awards with "Halos" for backyarders achieving landmark distances of 50k, 100k and 100 miles - and race specific "medal jackets" for those in the marathon, 50k ultra and 80k ultra.

If you are a more "conventional" kind of runner and the thought of stopping and starting every hour doesn't really suit you then we have something that might just rock your world? Take on the more traditional 42.2km marathon distance ... with a twist! The Mighty Totara Twlight Marathon starts at 8pm which means head torches are mandatory as you wil be covering at least some of the course in the darkness! On a tough course, even experienced runners will struggle to finish by midnight ... so you'll probably finish your marathon odyssey on a different day than when you started!

Not really a night owl? Then how about Sunday's half marathon which will feature the biggest field of the weekend and your chance to test yourself over 3 laps of the tough daytime course.

Either way, you'll take home a superb Mighty Totara finisher medal for your efforts.



Get The Gang Together

Always wanted to have the experience of an ultra but felt the distance involved was just a little bit much? The Mighty Totara Team Relay is your opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the ultra experience whilst retaining more modest goals. Teams of 2 or 4 can tackle the 12 or 24 hour options whilst a 6-hour event is specifically for teams of 2. So now you just need to be able to run 6.7km and then rest up for a while.
C'mon! You can do it!

EVENT VENUE: Totara Park
Nestled in the shadow of the Auckland Botanic Gardens and just off the Southern Motorway, Totara Park is a hidden gem of classic New Zealand bush and semi-tamed pasture. The event base is right in the heart of the park in a natural amphitheatre with a majestic downhill finish and plenty of space to spread out. Tent City will surround the venue and provide an electric atmosphere as each lap starts and finishes.  

The 6.7km loop features gravel path through stunning native bush, over and alongside streams and through well-maintained gravel farm tracks. A stuningly gorgeous route in the daytime, there is both more - and less!- to see at night when we switch to an easier course (missing out the staircases!) and head lamps will light the way. What an experience!

If you have a desire to push yourself to achieve great things, in great company and truly mighty surroundings ... the Mighty Totara is for you. C'ya there!

Video Showcase

Course Tours

Take a look at our course tours - in glorious 4k video - for the highlights of the Mighty Totara ...

Event Announcement [The Rev Ep. 4]

Enter Now

Sign up ASAP & Enjoy the Best Discounts!


Important! Please familiarise yourself with our T&Cs & age requirements1 (see below) prior to registering.

Backyard Ultra

START: 7am Saturday

Last One Standing 2


Until 12 Nov|info

  • Run Unlimited Laps 2
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal + Halos
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt
  • "A" Reserve Tent Site
START: 7am Saturday

Backyard 10


Until 12 Nov|info

  • Run up to 10 Laps (67km)
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal + 50k Halo
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt
  • "B" Reserve Tent Site
START: 7am Saturday

Backyard 5


Until 12 Nov|info

  • Run up to 5 Laps (33km)
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt

Just Run: Half & Full Mar or Ultra

START: 7:03am Saturday

50K Ultramarathon


Until 12 Nov|info

  • 7.5 Laps of the beautiful Daytime Loop
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal + 50K "halo"
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt
START: 8:01pm Saturday

Twilight Marathon


Until 12 Nov|info

  • Day/Night "Headlights On" 42.2km Run 
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal + 42K "halo"
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt
START: 7:30am Sunday

Half Marathon


Until 12 Nov|info

  • 3 Laps of Legendary Daytime Course
  • Stunning "Mighty Totara" Medal
  • Free Bandana & Running Belt

Team Relay

IMPORTANT! You don't need to know the details for all of your team members to register. Just put "TBC" into the entry form when prompted.
START: 7am Saturday

24 Hour Teams

$214 (2-person) / $269 (4-person)

Until 12 Nov|info

  • 2/4 x Team Mighty Totara Medals
  • 2/4 x Bandana / Running Belt
  • Team Tent Site
START: 7am Saturday

12 Hour Teams

$184 (2-person) / $229 (4-person)

Until 12 Nov|info

  • 2/4 x Team Mighty Totara Medals
  • 2/4 x Bandana / Running Belt
  • Team Tent Site
START: 7am Saturday

6 Hour Teams

$154 (2-person)

Until 12 Nov|info

  • 2 x Team Mighty Totara Medals
  • 2 x Bandana / Running Belt


When entering one of our events, you will be required to accept our Waiver, which includes vitally important information we do not want you to miss. Above all else, you must acknowledge that your registration is non-refundable and cannot be deferred to a later edition of this event or transferred to another event (read our Refunds & Deferrals Statement). To be fair and equitable to all - we will not deviate from this position under any circumstances. You will also be acknowledging our Participation & Competition Rules including the important stipulation that - in all disputes - the Race Director's decision shall be final.


  1. Entry to the Last One Standing is restricted to those aged 14 years or older on race day. Entry to the Twilight Marathon  & Ultramarathons is restricted to those 18 or older on race day. Age restrictions are calculated using the participant's age on race day.
  2. Official event cutoff at max 36 hours. Any remaining participants may continue at own volition without official race support.

Please also note:

  • All amounts are in NZD and inclusive of GST. You will be directed to our secure online payment partner, Windcave, to complete your payment. All payments over $100 are eligible to use our "FlexiREV" facility to split your payment into 4 fortnightly installments (5% service fee applies).

Race Options

Individual or Team? Last One Standing or a more modest goal? Choose your poison ...


Choose Your Challenge!

From the greenest of newbs to the most haggard of ultramarathoners, we have a category to suit your athletic aspirations!

Last One Standing

The big kahuna! This category is for those who are committed to running until the lights go out! We expect to see some titanic battles as we head through into Sunday morning and wait to discover who will be Last One Standing!

Entry in this category provides for unlimited laps and a tent site and car park right next to the start/finish line. For those who reach the holy grail of 100 miles (24 laps completed), we have a special "halo" award for you too!

Backyard 10

If your aim is to hit some ultra-distance gold - but mega-distances are not your scene - then you can save some $$$s with the Backyard Ten (run up to 10 laps / 67km) option. Offering a set maximum 10 laps, this is a definite path to an ultra-achievement.

As if the distance wasn't motivation enough, we have a "halo" award when (not "if", "when"!) reaching the glorious 50K milestone by completing lap 8. This entry category includes Tent City space and car parking.

Important! Backyard Ten is a sub-category of the Backyard Ultra. Competitors must be ready to commence their next lap on the hour and their event ends when they are unable to complete a lap within the one hour time limit - or when they reach their lap limit - whichever comes sooner.

Backyard 5

Not quite ready for an ultra but keen to try out the amazing Backyard Ultra format? The Backyard Five is the ideal option and if you can run a 10k in around an hour ... you can do this.

Good for up to 5 Laps (33km) this is the ideal way to put your toe in the ultramarathon water (without losing any toenails!) and soak up the friendly atmosphere of the ultra/trail community. Who knows, maybe next year you'll be back to take on the Last One Standing?

Important! Backyard Five is a sub-category of the Backyard Ultra. Competitors must be ready to commence their next lap on the hour and their event ends when they are unable to complete a lap within the one hour time limit - or after 5 completed laps - whichever comes sooner.

50K Ultramarathon

"I just want to run!" - we hear ya. Not one for the Backyard Ultra format ... we've still got you sorted! Excitement will be ramped up to 10 for the 7am Saturday morning event start and there's a 50K Ultramarathon option just for those who want to run and not stop!

This event kicks off with a shortened 3.1km lead in lap to the north of the course before setting out on 7 laps of the stunning Daytime course. It's tough. You bet it is! But that just makes finishing all the sweeter and you'll be rewrded with a unique 50K halo for your stunning Mighty Totara medal.

Our multi-lap ultramarathon offers the chance for loved ones, crew (and even the self-crewed) to enjoy the energy boost and refuelling oppertunities of running through the start/finish area at the end of each lap. Tired of having to carry so much water and nutrition on that mega-effort? This ultra's for you!

Twilight Marathon & Sunday Half

If the Backyard Ultra doesn't quite suit your running style then there's still an opportunity to be a part of the action. And how! 

The marathon follows six laps of the Backyard Ultra course with a little extra thrown in to make the distance. You'll get a chance to cheer on those hardy souls setting off on the 8pm Backyard lap before taking off on your own night time adventure. Remember that Night Time Rules apply ... so check out the Info section for details.

The half marathon is set down for Sunday morning with a start line 1km north of the race venue. A super-exciting downhill dash will lead you in to 3 laps of the legendary daytime course. It's gonna be tough ... but the stunning Mighty Totara medal is waiting for you at the finish line!

2 & 4 Person Teams

If you aren't quite ready to hit the trail every hour, on the hour then why not get some help from your friends! There are both 2 and 4  person team options for 12 and 24 hour categories as well as a more modest 6-hour option for 2-person  team. All team events start at 7am Saturday and team members pass a baton to their next team member who starts their lap immediately (no waiting for the next hour). The winning team is the one who record most laps!

All teams racing over 12 or 24 hours get a place in Tent City as well an on-site parking spot and there's a finisher medal for each team member. The team categories promise to be hotly contested with a trophy for each winner based on total elapsed time on course. Get amongst it!

Important! Teams events do not follow the Backyard Ultra format. Team members pass the baton to their next runner, who begins their lap immediately. 

Important! Team results are based on the total number of laps completed within the time limit. Incomplete laps are not counted and the finish time of the last completed lap is used for tie-breakers.

The Course

No concrete. No cars. No mud. 
Just 6.7km of hard-packed, bush-lined, stream-bordered, gravel trails and sweet single-track!

Daytime Course

6.7km of epic, bush-clad, single track and farm road. This is a stunning and challenging course with 200m of vertical gain. Highlights include Stairway to Heaven, Jacob's Ladder and The Punisher.

Nighttime Course [8pm - 5:30am]

Less single-track, less vert and maybe not quite so scenic (but it's gonna be dark - so who cares?). Headlights on and soak up the sounds of the park at night for this unique running experience!

What's my course & distance?

Make no bones about it ... this course is stunningly beautiful and challenging. There are plenty of undulations in the first half including including two significant staircases ("Stairway to Heaven" bites about 600m into the course whilst "Jacob's Ladder" is just past half way) to negotiate. Just after passing the start finish area at 4.5km, a short, sharp 50m climb takes you up towards the turnaround point. From there, it's flat to the turn and back before a final downhill dash into the finish line - perfect for giving it a nudge to get under the hour time limit

Important: Scroll right on mobile to see all data in the table below ...

Race Category Start Time Course Dist. Notes
Last One Standing 7:00 AM Saturday DAY & NIGHT ??? Must complete 1 lap every hour
Backyard 10 7:00 AM Saturday DAY Up to 67km Must complete 1 lap every hour
Backyard 5 7:00 AM Saturday DAY Up to 33.5km Must complete 1 lap every hour
Race Category Start Time Course Dist. Notes
50km Ultramarathon 7:03 AM Saturday DAY 50km 7 laps + 3.1km lead-in
Twilight Marathon 8:01 PM Saturday NIGHT 42.2km 6 laps + 2km lead-in
Half Marathon 7:30 AM Sunday DAY 21.1km 3 laps + 1km lead-in 1
Race Category Start Time Course Dist. Notes
24 Hour Teams 7:00 AM Saturday DAY & NIGHT ???
12 Hour Teams 7:00 AM Saturday DAY ???
6 Hour Teams 7:00 AM Saturday DAY ???
  1. The Half Marathon event at 7:30am on Sunday morning will start 1km north of the main venue ... at the northern end of "Totara Trees Alley". A walking bus will depart the main Start/Finish line right after the 7am Backyard Ultra start (or you may choose to make your own way to this start line)). The Half Marathon course will comprise the final 1km of a standard daytime lap (lots of downhill!) followed by 3 x standard 6.7km daytime laps.

Elevation Profile (Daytime Course)

Make no bones about it ... this course is stunningly beautiful and challenging. There are plenty of undulations in the first half including including two significant staircases ("Stairway to Heaven" bites about 600m into the course whilst "Jacob's Ladder" is just past half way) to negotiate. Just after passing the start finish area at 4.5km, a short, sharp 50m climb takes you up towards the turnaround point. From there, it's flat to the turn and back before a final downhill dash into the finish line - perfect for giving it a nudge to get under the hour time limit

Live Timing & Split Points

Friends and family will be able to follow your progress in detail with live timing throughout the event and on course split points to track progress around the lap.

Event Venue

Adjacent to the Botanic Gardens and right off the Southern Motorway, Totara Park is our amazing venue ...

Totara Park

Totara Park is a 200 acre oasis in the heart of South Auckland. Bordered to the south by the Auckland Botanic Gardens, the venue is just a few hundred metres - and a million miles - from the Southern Motorway, less than 20 minutes drive from the centre of town. 

Event Venue

The race venue itself is in a deep bowl in the centre of the park, sheltered from neighbours and the elements. There is plenty of on-street parking in surrounding streets to the west and south, whilst a dedicated parking area is set aside for those setting up in Tent City.  Tent sites will be allocated on a first-registered, best-placed basis.

Info Centre

Everything You Need to Know About the Mighty Totara


Weekend Schedule & Check-in

From check-in & number collection, all the way to The Last One Standing, there's a lot going on over the weekend. Aquaint yourself with the timetable here ....

Race Weekend Schedule

Race Rules

The Backyard Ultra format will be new to most participants and has some simple, but unusual rules. It's important everyone understands these - as well as our general competition rules - before rocking up to the start line ...

Mighty Totara Rules
General Competition Rules

Tent City

A place in Tent City is available to  all Backyard Ultra athletes (except Backyard 5) and one spot each for 12 & 24 hour teams. This place comes with important rules around parking and waste and a ban on BBQs and generators. Read on for more ...

Tent City Info Guide

Event T-Shirts

If you don't have the tee, how will anyone know you were even there? 100% cotton and 110% awesome, these genuine AS Colour tees are a great reminder of the pain and ecstacy of the Might Totara. Throw one in the cart for $40 when you register ....

Event Tee

Race Number & Timing Tag

A valid race number (with timing tag on the reverse) must be worn on the front of your shirt whenever taking part in any of our events. Find out what it looks like, how to attach it and when you will receive it here ....

Race Number & Timing Tag

Drink Station

A Drink Station serving WATER & SPORT DRINK only will be located in the communal recovery area and is primarily intended for Ultra Mini and 6-Hour Team competitors. Those in Tent City are expected to bring their own food and drink with them for the duration of their event.

Mighty Totara Medal

For such a mighty achievement, we have the stunning Mighty Totara medal for everyone who completes at least one lap. Those in the Backyard Ultra can earn a distance "halo" for 50k, 100k or 100 miles. Similar halos are on offer for finishers in the Marathon and 50K Ultramarathon.

Medal Design TBC!

Medal Insert

Immortalise your achievement with a revTab medal insert. revTab is a self-adhesive plate, accurately cut for the recess on the back of your medal. It is delivered direct to your home and shows your name, Number of Laps and Total Distance Completed (or finish time for Marathon/Ultra runners) ....

revTab Medal Insert Info


Each allocated place in Tent City includes one place in the main on-site car park. All other competitors and supporters can find easy street parking nearby. Full details are in our handy PDF which you can download below ....

Parking Guide & Map

36 Hr Time Limit

The spirit of the Backyard Ultra is that the event will continue until only one person is left running. However, the labour expense of running indefinitely means that we must impose an official cut-off of 36 hours. In the unlikely event there are still competitors running at this time, they may continue on their own volition and without official event support.

Merit Awards

The LAST ONE STANDING will be presented with a silver trophy to take away. They will also have their name engraved for posterity on the full size BU Trophy. Overall winners in each of the individual events (Half Marathon, Twilight Marathon and 50K Ultra) will also receive awards as well as each champion relay team ....

List of Merit Awards

Proudly Independent

We want everyone to know the Mighty Totara is an independent, standalone event and is not directly associated with any other Backyard Ultra format events. There is no qualification on offer here for "championships" or "national teams" of any sort - just bragging rights and the chance to test your limits in stunningly beautiful surroundings. Get amongst it!


The safety of our participants, crew and the public is our number one concern. First, last and always. Find out more about our safety procedures and what to expect at our events here ...

Safety Information