Night Time Course – Mighty Totara

Night Time Course


The Night Time course at the Mighty Totara replaces two sections of forrest single track with additional gravel sections in open areas. The course is designed to be easier to navigate, better lit and eliminate some of the staircase sections. However, it should be noted that these have not been eliminated entirely and there is still an 800 metre section through the bush which includes some shorter sections of staircase.

Important! In addition to Backyard Ultra laps starting from 8pm Saturday until 5am Sunday, competitors in the 24-hour Team Relay will experience some of their laps on the night time course. Also, in the Just Run categories, those in the Twilight Marathon will use the Night Time course exclusively, whilst those in the Sunrise Half Marathon will start on the Night Time loop before transitioning to the Day Time loop from 5:30am onwards.

The Night Time course comes into effect at 8pm on Saturday, which is one hour before any real darkness falls. This is to ensure all participants can take note of the course changes and experience the new sections in daylight, before tackling them at night.

During the actual hours of darkness, it's important to note that Night Rules apply. These are discussed in detail below but, broadly, they require participants to use a head torch (which should be self evident) and to carry a mobile phone with them with the number for RACE HQ programmed into it.

Saturday 8:00pm -> Sunday 5:29am










Course Map / Night 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.


Important! This step-by-step focusses only on the two replacement sections fo the day time course. For a full description of the course, therefore, combine the notes here with those from the step-by-step description.

Bridleway Out-n-Back (replaces Eastern Loop)
The Night Time course comes into effect at the 400m mark. Continue past the left turn onto the Eastern Loop and, instead, stay on the main park gravel road all the way to the park entrance and car park. 

The Car Park will include a coned off lane on the eastern boundary from the main park footpath to the bridleway footpath. Cross the car park with care and turn left onto the bridleway for a 450 metre out-and-back section.

On returning through the car park, continue north on the gravel road until a left turn takes you into the central area of the park where the toilets and picnic benches are located. From here, you are back following the Day Time course.

Botanic Gardens (replace bush section with open section)
As you approach the Botanic Gardens from the east, at the 2.4km mark - the night course will not take a right hand turn over the wooden footbridge and into the bush section. Instead, continue on straight and the first bush section is replaced with a run through open gardens at the southern fringe of the Botanic Gardens.

At 2.8km, you will cross a different wooden bridge over the stream and turn right to rejoin the bush section as you climb up towards the event base.


For the safety and security of all participants, during the hours of darkness, Night Time rules apply. These cover the time from 9pm Saturday evening until 5:30am Sunday morning.

Night Time Rules

Mandatory: Head Torches
It's pretty difficult to imagine anyone having an issue with this but  - for the avoidance of doubt - it is mandatory to have a working head torch as you begin each and every lap whilst Night Time rules apply. We *strongly* encourage all participants to bring a spare head torch with them, just in case and especially if your torch has a rechargeable battery. For those using conventional batteries, make sure you bring a spare set.

Mandatory: Mobile Phone
All areas of the park enjoy good mobile coverage and we require that all participants carry a mobile phone with them during the hours of darkness. You should ensure you have Running Events' Race Control mobile number programmed into your mobile. The number will be displayed prominently at RACE HQ during the event.

Optional: Buddy System
We strongly encourage all participants - and in particular female participants - to find a buddy to run with whilst it is dark. This is discussed in more detail below.


We strongly encourage all participants - particularly women - who may be running during the hours of darkness to use the Mighty Totara "Buddy System". We have outlined three potential sources of a buddy below:

#1/ Find a Buddy
Team up with another competitor in your event so that you have someone to run with. Take time to speak with them before the event so you are both aware of the arrangement, the approximate pace you will be running together and what contingency plans you have if something doesn't go as expected.

#2/ Bring a Buddy
Whilst it is against our standard competition rules to have non-participants accompany you on course, an exception to this rule is made during darkness hours at the Mighty Totara. Therefore, you can ask a friend who is not taking part to accompany you at this time. Please note, however, that your friend is not an official participant in the event and they accompany you at their own risk as a member of the public.

#3/ Relay Teams, Run in "Buddy Pairs"
Relay teams may - at their option - cover night time laps in a pair (two members from the same team) and have both laps credited to your team total. To do this, teams should notify Race HQ that they are embarking on a "paired" lap. At the conclusion of the lap, the team then sit out the exact time taken for the paired lap before beginning their next lap (which could be another paired lap, as needed). Only laps commencing during the Night Rules hours are eligible for this.

The safety of all participants is our #1 priority ... first, last and always. However, all participants in the Night Time section of the Mighty Totara must recognise and be aware of the additional safety risk inherent in running at night. Please consider your own personal situation prior to signing up to determine if this event is suitable for you.