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2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k Results: Kiwis Ruth Croft and Daniel Jones Take Home Wins

Results from the 2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k.

By on February 16, 2024 | Comments

Many people who follow ultrarunning expected Ruth Croft (New Zealand) and Daniel Jones (New Zealand) to win the Tarawera by UTMB 102k on Saturday, February 17, in New Zealand.

After all, the 2022 Western States 100 winner Croft’s last race was a dominant win at the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100k this past November, and Jones, the defending champion, is coming off an impressive 2023 that included a 12th-place finish at UTMB and fifth-place finish at the Western States 100. Combine that with running your country’s biggest ultra and the extra attention that brings, and there was no shortage of pressure and expectation on the Kiwi duo.

But Croft and Jones seemed to thrive on it, as they both took home commanding wins in their respective races through the lush forests and cascading waterfalls of Rotorua, a city on New Zealand’s North Island. It was both runners’ second wins at Tarawera, with Croft winning in 2021 and Jones victorious last year.

Starting under a morning fog, 726 runners began their way through the 63.5-mile course that featured more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain. The temperatures climbed as the race wore on even with decent cloud coverage, with many runners — Croft among them — using sponges soaked in cold water, among other techniques, to cool off.

Since its inception 15 years ago, the Tarawera 102k has attracted some of the sport’s top talent and served as a bellwether of sorts for the upcoming ultra calendar. After Croft and Jones’ convincing wins, it’s hard not to believe they are destined for another strong year.

Read on for the full race details.

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by guest contributor Robbie Harms.]

2024 Tarawera by UTMB 100k Women’s Race

Ruth Croft entered the first checkpoint at Lake Rotokakahi about 13.5 miles into the race in the lead and never looked back. Beth McKenzie (U.S., lives in Australia) was less than two minutes behind at that point, but Croft’s lead grew steadily; by the time they reached the first Millar Road checkpoint, at just over a marathon, she led by nearly five minutes, and by the time she got to Lake Tikitapu, it had grown to 11 minutes. McKenzie, an Ironman champion triathlete running in her first 100k, capped off a strong debut by finishing second.

[From 2016 to 2018, Beth McKenzie (nee Gerdes) served a two-year doping sanction after testing positive at the 2016 Ironman Australia for ostarine, a prohibited selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).]

New Zealand’s Nikki Everton was the other runner in the mix, running in third consistently throughout the race. Everton improved her finish from last year’s race by 10 places to earn a spot on the podium.

This race belonged to Croft, though, and as she methodically built her lead it was up to her to simply keep her composure and not make any mistakes. She happily ran with young locals who sprinted next to her and enjoyed several cold-sponge showers at aid stations before crossing the finish line first for the second time in three years.

It was Sarah Ludowici (Australia) and Katie Wright (U.K., lives in New Zealand) who took fourth and fifth places in the women’s race.

Ruth Croft - 2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k champion

Ruth Croft, 2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k champion. Photo: Cameron McKenzie

2024 Tarawera by UTMB 100k Women’s Results

  1. Ruth Croft (New Zealand) — 9:14:14
  2. Beth McKenzie (U.S., lives in Australia) — 9:38:03
  3. Nikki Everton (New Zealand) — 10:26:53
  4. Sarah Ludowici (Australia) — 10:54:33
  5. Katie Wright (U.K., lives in New Zealand) — 11:12:53

Full results.

2024 Tarawera by UTMB 100k Men’s Race

Daniel Jones, too, led the race wire-to-wire. At the first checkpoint, he was three minutes ahead of ultimate sixth-place finisher Michael Dimuantes (Australia) before keeping his foot on the gas. He was focused and intentional at aid stations, methodically filling his bottles and cooling himself off to maintain his lead, which grew to double-digit minutes.

Justin Grunewald (U.S.) was his closest challenger all day, running a smart and strong race. He was in fifth at the first checkpoint but made it up to second by the Okataina checkpoint about 36 miles in, a place he wouldn’t relinquish. Grunewald, who had two impressive third-place finishes at the Grindstone by UTMB 100k and the Canyons by UTMB 100k in 2023, finished about 40 minutes behind Jones.

Sage Canaday (U.S.) and Matthew Healy (South Africa) battled for the final podium spot. Canaday moved from seventh to third from miles 13 to 36 before Healy, who stayed in the top five the entire race, used a strong stretch from the second Millar Road checkpoint at mile 47 to Lake Tikitapu at mile 54 to move up two places to third, where he would remain until he crossed the finish line.

Daniel Jones - 2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k champion

Daniel Jones, 2024 Tarawera by UTMB 102k champion. Photo: Cameron McKenzie

2024 Tarawera by UTMB 100k Men’s Results

  1. Daniel Jones (New Zealand) — 7:46:42
  2. Justin Grunewald (U.S.) — 8:25:57
  3. Matthew Healy (South Africa) — 8:58:43
  4. Sage Canaday (U.S.) — 9:13:06
  5. Roberto Mastrotto (Italy) — 9:24:37

Full results.

Robbie Harms

Robbie Harms is a writer, teacher, and runner. He has written about running, among other topics, for “The New York Times,” “The Boston Globe,” and several other publications.