The Tarawera Ultramarathon may be the most scenic ultra marathon run in the world, but Ruth Croft didn't show up for a 102km scenic tour. The 32-year-old was the outright winner, which means the kiwi "chicked" the guys (her term, not ours). How did she do it while trimming 7 minutes off American Courtney Dauwalter's record?
Let's be clear. Croft didn't just appear from nowhere. She's been making a name for herself for sometime including winning the 2018 Golden Trail Series, placing second at the last world trail champs in 2019, and winning the Old Ghost Road 85km outright in 2020 while setting a new women’s course record. Croft also won the last two Mont Blanc Marathons.
Despite all of Croft's accomplishments, many considered Dauwalter the favorite in this year's Tarawera as she seems to be an unstoppable force these days; and, like Croft, winning races outright that had never been won by women before.
One cannot discount the advantage of racing in your own backyard. The Tarawera is held in New Zealand, allowing Croft to train near and on the course including 20km a day for 14 days back around the New Year. Advantage or not, we have nothing but admiration for Ruth Croft and cannot wait to see what other records she's ready to crush.