Day Time Course – Mighty Totara

Day Time Course


The Day Time course at the Mighty Totara is the one that most participants will use, most of the time. The course can broadly be split into three sections; the Eastern Loop, the Botanic Gardens and the Northern Out-and-Back. The running surface is a mix of gravel farm road and glorious forrest floor single-track with a brief paved section near the park entrance.

The day time course is both stunningly beautiful and challenging. The Eastern Loop takes up the first 2km and is almost all forrest trail and includes a descent of the mighty "Jacob's Ladder" staircase. The Botanic Garden section is a mix of gravel and forrest floor and includes the challenging climb from the corner at Everglade Rd - just past the 3km mark, through bush and open pasture to the top of the hill near the venue just past the 4km mark. The Northern Out-and-Back is all on gravel farm road and footpath with wide views of the park. This section is mildly undulating before a pulsating downhill into the event base to complete the lap.

For trail newbs, there is very limited stairway sections and plenty of signage to keep you on course. We do not expect any mud and all sections of the course - with the exception of the stairs - are highly runnable. As the event progresses through the first few hours, the field will spread out and whilst there will usually be someone nearby, there's heaps of space for everyone to keep their own pace.

The new 2024 daytime course has one third less vertical gain than 2023!

Saturday 8:00am -> 7:59pm & Sunday 5:30am -> 8:00am










Course Map / Day Time

Click on the map image to open in a pop-up window or choose one of the interactive external links below to see the course in detail. You can also download and print out your map using the PDF to follow along during your training runs. 

Important! The Day & Night courses in the Mighty Totara are measured to the standards set down by the New Zealand 100 Marathons Club.


The course commences from the main Event Base in the centre of Totara Park near the cattle marshalling stands. From the start/finish line, bear right and right again to join the gravel roadway heading towards the main park entrance.

Eastern Loop
A steady downhill section on the main park road south includes a vehicle gate with a pedestrian gate (tied back) for access. After 400m, a sharp left turn and swing-gate (careful, you need to negotiate this one yourself) takes you onto a beautiful section of forrest floor single-track. 

After a flat section, the trail climbs up towards the 1km mark and includes some sharp turns and short staircase sections. A natural bend in the trail then turns you to the south and towards "Jacob's Ladder". In 2023, participants had the joy of "running" up this devilish staircase. This time around, you'll be running (carefully!) down the 100 or so steps.

At the foot of Jacob's Ladder, a right turn heads you west and towards the main park entrance on a beautiful single track trail next to the stream. This section is nice and level for great running. Where the trail finally returns to the gravel road, another swing-gate is to be negotiated.

Park Central
A right onto the main track is quickly followed by a left which takes you into the central section of the park. You'll run past a very well appointed and modern toilet block - great for a quick pitstop - and past the picnic area. Keep your wits about you through this section as there are a number of quick and easy turns to make. You'll pass the outdoor swimming pool on your right and run towards the historic Beufords reception and function centre.

A right turn in front of Beaufords takes you onto some well formed footpaths and board walk before a right turn towards the west. 

This entire section is flat and fast.

Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Garden section begins with just after the 2km mark with 400m gently downhill on gravel road. A right turn takes you onto a pedestrian bridge over the stream. The next 1.3km is absolutely stunning forest trail with a canopy of premium New Zealand bush - listen out for the Tui (if you can hear anything over your own panting).

The intial section of this trail, out to the 3km mark, skirts the northern boundary of the Botanic Gardens and the manicured lawns are visible across the stream and through the trees. Look out for other park users here - especially dog walkers and their furry friends. It can be busy on summer weekends. 

Just after the 3km mark, a hairpin turn at the Everglade Drive cul-de-sac points you to the east. The wonderful bush scenery is still in effect and you're going to need it. Over the next kilometre, you'll climb from 40m sea level up to 100m. That's an average 6% but with undulations, it'll feel tougher. The first 600 metres is all bush clad and includes some stairs (up and down) and boardwalk sections.

At 3.7km - just after half way - you'll turn north and the gradient will ease as you traverse open paddock to join the farm road just above the Event Base.

We're exactly 4km in and the finish line looks so close you could touch it. Turn right? No way!

Northern Out-n-Back
Be strong grasshopper! Turn away from the lights and bright colours because you now have a 2.5km out-and-back section before that final, glorious charge down the hill to the finish line. As you turn left, there's still some sting in the climb and you'll need to tackle a short, sharp uphill to hit the ridge. 

The next 1200 metres are undulating gravel road and footpath all the way out to the turnaround point near the northern limits of the park. You'll pass the magnificent Totara Trees Alley where you can - at your option - run between two perfect lines of these majestic beasts for a short while. At the end of Totara Trees Alley, a right turn takes you onto a wide gravel footpath and past the mountain bike trail head to the turnaround point. 

From 5.7km - after a short tester coming back out of the gravel footpath and onto the gravel road next to Totara Trees Alley - you are now on a gentle descent back to the hill above the event venue. 

The Finish 
With 400 metres to go, the gravel road snakes to the east and - just as you emerge from a stand of trees - the Event Base and finish line are all laid out before you. This is where things get real steep, real fast. Stay focussed and don't get carried away, you'll need to control your descent here to avoid any mishaps. 

The steep descent bottoms out around 100 metres from the finish line and you can soak up the cheers from Tent City as you make the final dash into the line. You made it! 

Now what?
One More Lap!